Our veterans have been struggling for far too long.
For generations, the battle has continued long after veterans left the defence force.
Many struggle with mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Stoicism, particularly among men, is entrenched in the expectation of the conventional Aussie.
Consequently, trauma and stress were repressed, while stigma relating to mental health was perpetuated.
Groups aiming to foster friendships among veterans, including RSLs and Mates4Mates, have helped countless veterans connect - but many still struggle.
Many veterans I have interviewed have recounted trauma both in and out of the force. Some veterans detail feeling mistreated by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
The department’s moves to fund mental health services and monitor homelessness are welcome.
Thankfully, a Senate inquiry into suicide by veterans and ex-service personnel was instigated by Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie.
Harrowing submissions have been made, detailing a difficult return to life outside of defence, grappling with isolation and the mental ramifications of service.
It's not only defence personnel who served abroad that struggle.
Members of the Australian Defence Force who served at bases around Australia still suffer from systemic institutionalisation.
After finishing their service or being discharged, they can feel forgotten.
Joining the military is an almost incomprehensible sacrifice, and adjusting to life outside the force can be a massive struggle.
The least our government can do is honour veterans’ service and award them the support and care they so deserve.
- TAMARA McDONALD
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