Caring for veterans in a family

Providing care to veterans in a family sensitive way

Mental health services are increasingly being delivered in ways which take into consideration the needs of families and the important role they play through treatment and recovery. Partners, children, parents and siblings of a person with a mental illness are likely to be significantly affected by that person’s condition. In most cases family members benefit greatly from accurate information, involvement in treatment, and if necessary, support to access services for themselves.

The involvement of significant others in the assessment and treatment of a veteran can have positive impacts on a veteran's recovery and helps identify the needs of family members so that they can be adequately supported or referred. Involvement of family members in assessment and treatment allows accurate, hopeful messages about support and treatment to be shared. Family members are invaluable sources of helpful information about the veteran’s mental health, providing more objective assessments of changes in the veteran’s mood and behaviour. Families can also provide support and motivation to seek help and maintain involvement in treatment. In addition, veterans may be more likely to seek help and engage with mental health services alongside their families if they believe it is of benefit to their family.

Recommended readings and online resources about families

Beyond The Call - Stories from veterans and their families This book contains stories that recount experiences of Australian veterans and their families who have a mental health and/or substance abuse issue.
Parenting Research Centre The Parenting Research Centre is an Australian website dedicated to supporting parents through developing resources, programs and policies based on scientific evidence.
The Bouverie Centre Descriptions of family sensitive interventions: key principles and links to training. The Bouverie Centre website also has a range of other family resources.
Children of parents with a mental illness COPMI has a range of resources for families and practitioners focussing on improving outcomes for children.
Child Family Community Australia: Research Practice and Policy Information Exchange This website houses evidence-based publications and resources for professionals in the areas of protecting children, supporting families and strengthening communities.
U.S. National Child Traumatic Stress Network The National Child Traumatic Stress Network is a US based peak body for child and adolescent post traumatic mental health. It holds a range of resources including information on children of veterans.
Online training on impact of deployment The US-based Center for Deployment Psychology has online training programs on the impact of deployment and combat on families and children.