Promoting wellbeing and resilience in veterans and military families

Service design snapshots
Wednesday 25 July, 1430 – 1440


Dr Marissa Dickins
Bolton Clarke Research Institute and
Southern Synergy, Department of Psychiatry at Monash Health, Monash University

Over half of individuals who serve in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) experience a mental health diagnosis in their lifetime, often most clearly expressed when the veteran returns to civilian life. This has the potential to create distress for the veteran’s family relating not only to the behaviour of the veteran, but also a lack of understanding about how to help their loved one through this difficult time.

Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 62 veterans and family members, and 26 individuals representing ex-service organisations. Sessions explored the different perspectives on mental health for this group, and what else may be needed to assist families and veterans navigate this difficult issue. Four themes arose from the interviews and focus groups: experiences before and during transition from the ADF; experiences of veterans after discharge; family perspectives; and experiences with mental health services. From the information provided by these individuals, a series of informational videos are being created with veterans and their families to assist them to navigate post-service mental health issues.

The process of creating these videos will be explored and excerpts will be included in the presentation. These videos will fill a gap in the support available to veterans and their families. This has high priority considering the impact of mental health issues on family functioning and the impact of family functioning on treatment success.