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Suicide awareness for the ex-service community

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Tom’s Story: Not coping post-discharge

This is a fictional case study

Scene Description:

Young man, about 35 years sitting and telling his story


Hi, my name is Tom and I have been out of the army for just over 18 months. I’d have to say that it’s been the worst time of my life.

I saw some bad things in Afghanistan. I saw people die, even a mate, but being with my unit felt good.

After I got out of the army life felt different. I felt different.

I lost contact with my mates, I found it hard to hold down a job and even my wife was getting pretty frustrated with me.

I couldn’t talk to anyone because I didn’t think they’d understand how I felt. I kept getting nightmares and I used to drink to get to sleep.

After a while my wife left me and at that point I hit rock bottom. I thought it would be easier for everyone if I wasn’t around anymore.

A mate from my unit came to see me. He told me I looked terrible and I needed to go and see someone. He took me to see this guy who’d been in the army but was now a psych. He knew what it was all about.

The psych reminded me about what I’d learnt in the army – about resilience and how to react in stressful situations – he also taught me new ways to cope with how I was feeling.

I’m now seeing my kids, my wife, and even some of my mates from my old unit. They all understand and they are going to help me get through it.

I am doing much better now. Life is looking up and me and my mates from my unit know we all have to look out for each other.

Need assistance?

For immediate assistance when life may be in danger Call 000

For national 24/7 help lines and crisis support counselling:

  • VVCS
    (Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service)
    1800 011 046
  • ADF All Hours Support Line
    1800 628 036
  • Lifeline Australia
    13 11 14
  • Mens Line
    1300 78 99 78
  • National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line
    1800 737 732
  • Kids Help Line (for 5-25yrs)
    1800 55 1800
  • Suicide Call Back Service
    1300 659 467
  • Salvation Army Crisis Line
    1300 36 36 22

Stories from those touched by suicide

Mathew: My son Daniel

I saw my son Daniel change after Afghanistan and I didn’t know how to help until it was almost too late.

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Jayden’s Story: When Dad died

When Jayden’s father committed suicide, it left him feeling like it was his fault.

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Emma’s Story: Feeling like a failure

After being medically discharged, Emma felt like a failure to herself and her family. She felt no hope for the future.

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Mary’s Story: Living with a husband with undiagnosed PTSD

Mary’s own mental health suffered until she felt that suicide was the only answer.

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