Available services over the Christmas period
As this year draws to a close the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) would like to thank you for assisting our veterans and their families throughout 2016. We extend to you our best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and look forward to working with you again in 2017.
Our offices, including those of the VVCS centres will be closed from close of business on Friday, 23 December 2016 and will re‑open at start of business on Tuesday, 3 January 2017.
The VVCS after hours service is available to support all members of the veteran and ex-service community throughout the holiday season and can be contacted on 1800 011 046.
Support for the ‘silly season’
Christmas and New Year are a time for celebration, however the expectations of the ‘silly season’ can make it a difficult period for some.
While there are a number of mental health apps and websites already in the marketplace, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has a suite of online mental health websites and apps specifically designed for Australian serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members and their families.
The suite offers innovative mechanisms for delivering care and mental health information. Clinicians can draw on the suite to complement a treatment regime.
The mental health supports available in the suite include:
General Mental Health
The At Ease website provides your patients with simple, helpful information and advice to help them recognise the symptoms of poor mental health. It also provides useful information on keeping families healthy while caring for someone with a mental health condition.
Clients trying to watch their drinks and find the right balance of alcohol, diet and exercise can use The Right Mix website and the On Track with the Right Mix app. The website uses motivational goal setting strategies and interactive tools to encourage behaviour change and reduce drinking. The app helps people track their drinks in real time and see the impact of their drinking on their wellbeing, budget and the amount of exercise needed to burn off the kilojoules consumed in a session.
The High Res resilience website has a range of interactive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) tools to help your patient reduce stress levels and build physical, behavioural, cognitive and emotional resilience. Clients can use the companion High Res app to reduce stress and build resilience with easy to access self-help tools on the go.
The Operation Life Online website provides patients with information on the warning signs of suicide and advice and resources to help keep them and others safe from suicide. The website also contains information to help those worried about others, or if someone close recently suicide or attempted suicide.
For non-immediate support, the Operation Life mobile app is a tool to supplement face-to-face treatment for at-risk clients and to complement an individual Safety Plan.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD Coach Australia app helps people understand and manage the symptoms that may occur following exposure to trauma. It provides education about PTSD, information about self-assessment and professional care, and tools to manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD. The app can supplement clinical treatment and can be used as a support tool when patients are at home and in need of assistance. The ‘PTSD Coach Australia’ video is available from the DVAAus YouTube page, providing guidance on using the app to support treatment.
The complete range of DVA eMental Health resources are accessible from the At Ease portal
All DVA mobile apps are available free from the iOS App Store and Google Play.
Expanding veterans’ access to treatment for alcohol and substance use disorders
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has established a panel of community-based providers to assist in treating eligible members of the veteran community who are experiencing alcohol and other substance use disorders. This panel enhances the existing suite of services currently available to treat veterans, providing a greater choice of service options, across varied service settings.
The providers selected for this panel have undergone rigorous screening as part of an open tender process, and have been assessed against the DVA Core Service Standards for the Provision of AOD services to the Veteran Community.
Eligible veterans have access to treatment from a range of health providers including general practitioners (GPs), medical specialist (including addiction specialists), psychologists, mental health accredited social workers and occupational therapists, psychiatrists, inpatient hospital services, and a range of accredited outpatient services.
In addition clients have access to the Veteran and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and access to pharmaceuticals to treat their conditions.
DVA has now expanded the service offering to include community-based providers. This panel will enhance geographic and service options including in the areas of assessment, referral, withdrawal management, psychotherapy, group programs, supported accommodation, residential treatment, case management, pharmacotherapy and after-care programs.
In order to access services through these arrangements, individuals must be eligible for treatment and referred through either a medical practitioner (for instance, a GP), the VVCS, a hospital discharge planner or other DVA allied mental health provider. A written referral is required.
The recent Australian Government Budget announcements enhanced access to treatment for a range of mental health disorders for many current and ex-serving personnel. This includes increased access to treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders. The initiative extends eligibility for treatment under non liability healthcare arrangements to all those who have served at least one day on continuous fulltime service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). This means that a greater number of ex-serving members will be eligible for treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders than ever before.
More information on the panel is available at www.at-ease.dva.gov.au/professionals/assess-and-treat/substance-use/
DVA rehabilitation success stories
In our last newsletter an article called ‘DVA Rehabilitation program’ explained about the recently incorporated Goal Attainment Scaling and how it assists in the rehabilitation of clients. In this article we hear about some of the success stories.
DVA regularly publishes stories about veterans who have experienced successful rehabilitation outcomes following their participation in a DVA rehabilitation plan, which often have a focus on positive psychosocial and mental health.
DVA’s rehabilitation program offers a whole-of-person focus, which is broader than assisting a client back to work. It considers all aspects of a person’s life in an effort to return a person to similar health, personal and vocational status before they were injured or became ill.
The success stories provide insight into the challenges faced by our clients and how DVA rehabilitation assisted them to get their life back on track. We hope that through veterans sharing their experiences, it will encourage others to seek help and assistance.
In the following stories, clients share their experience managing their mental health and wellbeing. See the full suite of DVA Rehabilitation Success Stories, on our website.
If you have been involved with or are aware of a successful rehabilitation outcome and you wish to nominate a client, then please let us know by sending an email to Rehab@DVA.