What we heard
There needs to be a connection with the civilian world outside of Defence the entire way through service to ensure that when a member separates there is already a clear point of contact and a level of certainty and comfort in life without Defence support.
It was suggested that there be a point of contact available on-base who does not report to the chain of command that can act as a conduit between the member and services and programs outside of Defence. This is important, as there is a stigma around consulting with on-base social workers or the Padre.
Through this initiative, members who are identified as high-risk can be ear-marked so that extra support can be provided throughout and after transition. This will also alleviate the pressure on support services.
Families should be aware from the beginning what support is available to them, and this point of contact would also serve the families of members.
There is some concern around the role of Soldier Recovery Centres, that now seem to be more about preparing members for re-entry in to service than successfully transitioning out.
Families should have easy access to mental health training and education, so that they are well equipped to manage any issues that may arise during or following service. A veteran specific Mental Health First Aid Course could be an option.
Re-integration programs that run concurrently with service would be helpful to allow for a “slow transition” and set the member up for success.
A central point of information (e.g. Veterans SA website) that contains a comprehensive list of veteran services in the state would be useful. Programs and services should be better promoted. A calendar listing programs and events would also be useful.
Information provided at Transition Seminars should be more state-based for relevance to the people attending.