FOLLOWING the success of a
two-year Community and Peer Pilot in
Townsville, Open Arms – Veterans & Families
Counselling will now roll-out their Community
and Peer Program across Australia, Minister
for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said today.
"The Government is
putting veterans and their families first and is
committed to ensuring that they have access to
the mental health support they need," Mr Chester
"The primary aim of
the Townsville Community and Peer Pilot
was to enhance the management of complex and
high-risk clients in the region, particularly
vulnerable individuals considered to be at risk
demonstrated that ‘lived experience’ mental
health peer workers within Open Arms could
enhance the management of vulnerable clients.
"Some veterans are
reluctant to reach out for help because they are
unable to get over the stigma of seeking
professional mental health treatment.
"Peers often have a
good understanding of the challenges and issues
they face, and can help provide a bridge between
the veteran community and professional mental
"Rolling out the
Community and Peer Program across Australia
will provide a new pathway for clients who were
previously unlikely to consider accessing or
being referred to Open Arms services.
Mr Patrick McGurrin,
Chief Executive of Townsville Private Hospital,
said "peer support can connect with vulnerable
individuals on a more personal level than
traditional mental health support programs. This
can result in more timely and comprehensive care
being provided by specialist mental health
services to those in need".
The Community and
Peer program also assists individuals and
families who are currently accessing Open Arms
services to connect to other services and
initiatives in the veteran community. The Open
Arms Peers also support a regional peer network
coordinating mentoring and training for other
peers working with the veteran community.
The Community and Peer
Program will be rolling out to all states
and territories throughout 2019.
If you would like to know more
about the Community and Peer Program
visit the Open Arms website –