Veteran mental health continues to be a concern for veterans in Tasmania, a recent survey has found.
The survey was commissioned by RSL Tasmania and jointly operated with the state government.
The survey found that 55 per cent of participants had experienced some form of mental health issue in their life – 10 per cent above the national average.
RSL Tasmania president Robert Dick said the result of the survey was troubling.
“It is a cause for concern and mental health is one of the issues that we take very seriously,” he said.
“We are moving with and trying to establish and engage with stakeholders as well as veterans to help overcome theses issues.”
About 40 per cent of the survey’s participants said they had experienced a traumatic event during service; 57 per cent rated their health as either average or poor.
“What we were doing was trying to identify exactly what it was veterans and veteran’s families needed from us as an organisation and to work with them so we can move forward jointly,” Mr Dick said.
“We were looking at any outstanding issues the veterans may have that we could pick up and move forward with – the type of support they may need in future in regard to health and wellbeing.”
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Mr Dick added that COVID-19 may have added to ongoing issues many veterans had.
“Our sub-branches across the state have done an amazing job in making sure they’re not isolated,” he said.
“COVID may have exacerbated more of the mental health issues underlying with some of the people out there but we’re hoping that we can help identify these and move forward to overcome those problems.”
Mr Dick said the general public could help raise the spirits of veterans by welcoming them, being sympathetic to their situation and allowing them to be a part of the community.
The survey results coincided with the RSL Tasmania annual congress – a yearly meeting where Tasmanian sub-branches meet to discuss new or ongoing issues to raise with government or make motions and amendments.
“Because of COVID, it did have an impact on what was going on but all of our sub-branches still met their commitments to the veteran community,” Mr Dick said.
- lifeline: 13 11 14.