Helping veterans and their families connect to communities

Ex-service organisations and commemorative activities can help ex-serving members stay connected to old friends and build new friendships in the community.


Ex-service organisations (ESOs)

Ex-service organisations (ESOs) offer services and activities to veterans and their families. Some veterans, particularly those from more recent conflicts, prefer not to identify with the ex-service community.

Military service involves the formation of strong, powerful bonds of trust and friendship. For many veterans, these connections continue after their separation from Defence, but for some these important peer relationships can diminish over time – particularly where mental health problems impact on a veteran’s capacity to socialise and seek support.

Supportive social connections are a vital part of maintaining wellbeing and resilience, and are predictive of positive outcomes in managing post-traumatic mental health conditions. It can be helpful for practitioners to assist veteran clients in reconnecting with their peers.

Be aware that some younger veterans choose to not be connected or may feel out of place in some ex-service communities. However, there is an increasing number of groups targeted specifically to the needs and interests of contemporary veterans.

There is a list of ex-service organisations and groups that veterans might find helpful for information, support and social connection, and as a vehicle for volunteering.

Using commemoration to stay connected

Engaging in commemoration ceremonies and activities can be an important way for veterans and their families to pay respects to and honour those injured or killed in war.

Visit DVA’s commemorative activities and events page for more information.