General News — 09 July 2014

The federal government says its expansion of existing mental health services for veterans and their families will be demand-driven and not capped.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Michael Ronaldson, says payments have been expanded for mental health treatments beyond the existing arrangements for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression

“We have now included in that treatment of diagnosed alcohol and substance abuse disorders, and also extended to a number of individuals with peacetime service.

“So they are now eligible. Troops face mental health risks

“The second part is that we have expanded counselling services under the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service, to the parents of members killed in service-related incidents.

“And the third part of the recently announced effort, is promote early intervention and prevention so all form of serving personnel are now able to access a comprehensive health assessment from their GPs.”

Senator Ronaldson says the country must not repeat its mistake post-Vietnam.

“What is very, very clear is that we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said.

“The way this nation treated the men returning from Vietnam, the lack of access to services, the nation really not doing what they were obligated to do and that was to look after these men on their return.

“The ramifications of that are regrettably are still painfully obvious.”

This article first appeared on ABC on 8 July, 2014.


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