Feb 27, 2013

Military mental health plan revealed — but problem underestimated

A new Defence Force report outlines how the military plans to deal with mental health issues like alcoholism and post traumatic stress disorder among troops. The problem is being underestimated.

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

Nearly six months after it was completed — and a year after it was due — the Australian Defence Force has publicly released its action plan for mental health reform in the military. But veteran groups have told Crikey the ADF could be grossly underestimating the extent of the problem.


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5 thoughts on “Military mental health plan revealed — but problem underestimated

  1. Gavin Moodie

    I’m glad this is getting an airing. Military people have clearly been traumatised by their experience of war at least since WWI – yet another cost of war which therefore should be avoided almost at all costs.

  2. Harley Dennett

    In light of crushing funding pressure, it’s easy to see how the ADF may opt for the cheapest path: relying on chaplains and external volunteer groups to prop up “spiritual fitness” of the troops pre & post deployment. That approach, borrowed from the Pentagon, has already started to creep into the Defence leadership lexicon, including CDF speeches last year. I just don’t understand how anyone could read Cantwell’s book or the submissions to the Senate inquiry into wounded diggers and come away thinking theology can solve this. It really needs new funding for mental health support, and get rid of the assistance divide between active duty, reserves and DVA.

  3. Mike Flanagan

    I too am glad to see this issue surface in our political policy development and discourse.
    The evidence that modern warfare is traumatic to the individual is clear and beyond refute.
    If we are to engage in these expeditionary military exploits like Iraq and Afghanistan then we have to accept the consequences and attend to our commitments to the affected individuals.
    What I would like to know is ,how do we compare to other national military establishments. Perhaps we may doing a better job than most of them! It wouldn’t surprise me!
    The contradictions, in training an effective killing machine as against accepted social norms, are enormous and the advance training methods used in Australian military are sophisticated.
    Even so we should devote more energy and resources in this area.
    We witnessed the lost souls that returned from Vietnam and many of the individual’s recovery processes were left to their families and friends while the politicians and others avoiding their responsibilities to our men in uniform.
    Let us not make the same mistake twice, or more

  4. Gerry Hatrick, OAP

    And who these people normally vote for? Good plan guys! Who says they don’t want you for your brains!

  5. Hamis Hill

    Then there is the contrast between service life and “civvy street”.
    The normal business world is more like piracy than national defence, with rewards handed out in almost complete contradiction to honesty, discipline and merit.
    Hard for former defence force personnel to fit in.
    Time to complete the current continuing replication of the evil Empire of Rome and replace the “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mortem” of the early republic with a sub-contracted, privatised and mercenary defence force that allows personnel to transition seamlessly with the commercial world.
    That will remove some of the problems concerning how the general public recognise and reward the extraordinary efforts of defence force personnel.
    Just don’t recognise them at all; that, at least, would be honest.
    It is not sweet and proper to die and be maimed, physically and mentally, for a nation of selfish, money worshipping ingrates.
    See, just like ancient Rome; just before the fall.
    Howard opened the door to all this, didn’t he.

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