Coping with loss

Coping with the loss of your loved one

Sadly, some families of serving members and veterans have to deal with the loss of their loved one. They may have lost their family member during training or a deployment, or their loss may come years after service from a service-related injury, physical illness or suicide.

For younger families, losing a loved one can be particularly difficult, especially if the loss happens under unexpected circumstances. As well as intense grief, families can often face unexpected problems like financial troubles or adapting to being a single-parent household. For many families, grief may still be present years after the veteran has died. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety associated with the death can also persist, leaving the surviving family members struggling to support each other.

Recent research shows that younger Australian ex-serving male veterans are at higher risk of suicide compared with other Australian men of the same age[1]. Losing a family member by suicide can cause significant problems for those left behind, like feeling confused about why it happened, and angry that a parent, spouse or child has taken their own life. They might feel ashamed, like they need to lie about the nature of the death. Family members of a veteran who has suicided might find it hard to talk to other people about their experience, and can be reluctant to access help to assist them in living without their family member.

Take Action: talk through your situation

Where there has been a death of a service person, access to counselling and support through Open Arms is extended to the wider family, including the service persons' parents and siblings.

Open Arms can provide confidential one-on-one counselling to talk through any issue you or your family may be dealing with. Call 1800 011 046.