The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has stressed the importance of promoting support services for current and former serving ADF personnel following the announcement of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
Concerns about how media coverage of defence and veteran matters may affect vulnerable members of the ADF has prompted the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to ask for the inclusion of support service information in news reports.
The guidance includes the numbers of confidential telephone and online services the Defence All-hours Support Line (1800 628 036), Open Arms (1800 011 046), and SafeZone (1800 142 072).
“Media reporting can be a trigger for mental health issues and Open Arms is Australia’s premier veteran support counselling service, with counsellors trained in military matters and their impact on mental health,” the department said in a statement.
“With the Government calling a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, we would like to appeal to Australian media to please reference Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling and the Defence All-hours Support Line in any media reporting on the Royal Commission, but also more broadly on defence personnel and veteran matters.”
Veterans’ Affairs has also shared a link to the Mindframe website to encourage reporters on the safe media reporting, portrayal and communications about suicide, mental ill-health and alcohol and other drugs.
“This is a national program managed by Everymind and is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support program,” the department said.