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Premier’s Message – October 2019

Welcome to the October edition of Veterans E-news.

The Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is renewing its Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan.

In June, the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Hon Darren Chester, MP, convened a national summit of experts in veteran mental health and suicide prevention to restructure the 10-year Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Plan. 

During the Summit, four areas were identified as a priority; Health Care; Transition; Partnerships; and Engagement, Communication and Education. 

The Summit was the first of many consultations to ensure the experiences and viewpoints of veterans, and their families, are heard and used to shape the Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan.

Following the Summit, DVA convened a co-design workshop, which consisted of veterans, family members, ex-service organisations, and government and non-government agencies. The co-design workshop was framed by the outcomes from the June Summit and an Environmental Scan of Mental Health Reform in Australia was commissioned by DVA and conducted by the EY Group.

The Environmental Scan highlighted two important considerations: the challenges of transition from full time military service into civilian life, and that only 10 per cent of former serving members access veteran health care services.  This document also discovered four key areas of reform; suicide prevention planning; integrated service delivery; improving quality of care and effective system performance and improvement. Please visit the DVA website if you wish to learn more about the Environmental Scan.  

Furthermore, DVA is seeking feedback to inform the design of the National Action Plan. If members of the veteran community wish to contribute in the development of the National Action Plan, they can do so by completing the survey.

This is an extremely important area of focus and reform and I encourage you to contribute to this work to ensure your viewpoints are heard in the development of the Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan.

I would also like to advise that I will be hosting my annual veterans’ town hall as part of the Veterans’ Information Day on Friday 1 November at the Torrens Training Depot in the city. The town hall is open to all veterans and I will endeavour to answer as many of your questions as time permits. The Veterans’ Information Day commences at 8:30 and will end with the town hall commencing at 3:00pm. To register please visit the Veterans SA website.

I wish to also highlight an iconic moment in Australian Military History; the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, and the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade.  This anniversary will be marked on 31 October. It is the definitive battle of the First World War in the Middle East that enabled allied forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza and advance into Palestine. A summary of this significant event can be found on the Veterans SA website

On behalf of all South Australians, thank you for your service.

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