ACCESSIBLE MENTAL HEALTH
SUPPORT FOR VETERANS
today acknowledged the release of two reports
from the Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare (AIHW) — the 2018 update on the
Causes of death among serving and ex-serving
Australian Defence Force personnel: 2002–2015,
and the National suicide monitoring of
serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester
said the latest findings show those who choose
to serve in the ADF are, on average, healthier
than the general community. However, the
findings also highlight the need to support the
mental health of veterans, particularly those
“Our Government is putting veterans and their
families first,” Mr Chester said.
“We are committed to supporting the physical and
mental health of veterans and these reports
provide a valuable contribution to our
understanding of veterans’ health.
“We have taken significant steps in recent years
to increase mental health support to our
veterans, and our priority now is to enhance
support to veterans during their transition
“Our Government provides more than $11.2 billion
each year to deliver services and programs to
support 290,000 veterans and their families,
with $200 million spent on mental health alone.”
Eligible transitioning ADF members now
automatically receive a DVA Health Card –
Specific Conditions (White Card), which can be
used to access treatment for any mental health
condition, regardless of whether or not it is
related to their service.
“This builds on the 2018–19 Budget measure,
which expanded mental health treatment to
eligible current and former Reservists without
the need to link this condition to their
service,” Mr Chester said.
“ADF personnel who receive a White Card for
mental health treatment will not be required to
make a claim with DVA to get treatment for
mental health conditions—they can simply use
their card to access treatment.”
ADF veteran, Kellie Dadds who has been deployed
eight times says the support will be valuable.
“This initiative will be welcomed by veterans
who are transitioning from the ADF as it is
another step easing the transition process.
Knowing this support is available when required
is pleasing and will ensure that veterans get
treatment early should they need it,” Ms Dadds
Current and former ADF members transitioning to
civilian life also have access to a
comprehensive one-off health assessment with
their general practitioner (GP).
“From 1 July 2019, all those leaving the ADF
will be able to access an annual comprehensive
health assessment by a GP for the first five
years after they discharge,” Mr Chester said.
"This is a $2.1 million commitment from
government and will assist in the early
detection and treatment of mental and physical
health concerns during transition to civilian
life, addressing a high risk period for the
emergence of mental health conditions and
Mental health treatment provided through a White
Card can include: consultations with a GP;
psychiatrist; psychologist; mental health social
worker or mental health occupational therapist;
specialist PTSD programs; subsidised
pharmaceuticals required to treat a condition,
and hospital treatment. Health assessments can
be accessed with a Medicare card.
Former ADF members
who have already transitioned to civilian life
can still access DVA funded treatment for any
mental health condition through the use of a
White Card by emailing the Department at
1800 555 254.
Eligible transitioning ADF members will receive
their White Cards in the mail.
Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon. Darren Chester MP,
Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can
be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for
support and free and confidential counselling.
Phone 1800 011 046 (international:
+61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a
service founded by Vietnam veterans.