It’s commonly recognized that veterans are some of the bravest, most dedicated people in the world, who put their lives on the line to defend our nation and protect our freedoms. However, life after serving in the military can be challenging, and veterans often face many difficulties in their everyday lives that can cause physical and mental health issues, financial hardships, and even homelessness.
Even though the Australian government has implemented many policies to support veterans, it is essential to understand the importance of individual and community support in making a difference in their lives. In this blog post, we will discuss why it’s essential to support veterans in Australia and how small acts of kindness and support can make a big impact on their lives.
Physical and Mental Health Issues
Veterans often face physical and mental health challenges due to the nature of their job. Many veterans have experienced traumatic events, which can lead to PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 13.5% of ex-serving personnel had a mental health disorder in 2017-18.
Support from the community can help ease feelings of social isolation that many veteran’s experience. Community programs such as the https://veteranmedical.com.au/ community outpatient clinic offer much-needed medical, mental health, and holistic care to veterans. In Australia, VMA has helped many veterans with physical and mental health conditions. As a community member, one can volunteer or donate to VMA to support veteran health and wellbeing.
For many veterans, it can be challenging to adjust to civilian life after serving in the military. They may not have the necessary education and training to secure a job in the private sector, which can lead to financial difficulties. Some veterans may face long-term unemployment, and as a result, may fall into poverty and homelessness.
Financial support from the community can alleviate some of these issues. Support in the form of funds, assistance with basic needs like groceries and essentials, or employment programs can help veterans start a new life. Many government and non-government organizations, including Legacy, RSL, and Soldier On, provide such financial assistance and employment programs.
Many veterans may struggle with re-integrating into their local communities. Social isolation can have a detrimental effect on their mental health and well-being. Being a part of a community can help make their transition home a little easier.
Support from local communities can mean organising events to connect veterans with other locals. Community members can invite veterans to events and activities, volunteer to support local veterans’ organizations and refer veterans to mental health support when needed.
Australia has over 5,000 homeless veterans on the streets, and this number is only expected to rise. Housing issues can snowball into other issues, including mental and physical health and financial issues. Homeless veterans are at higher risk of suicide, depression and are more likely to face medical issues.
The support of community organizations such as the Australian Alliance to End Veteran Homelessness is critical in addressing this issue. Community members can donate money, service, and items such as blankets or food to support homeless veterans. Volunteering at a local homeless shelter can give veterans the opportunity to build connections with community members.