Operation Comapss | #CheckYourMates

https://www.opcompass.org.au/

CONNECT to others

Make the time to meet with mates, especially those you haven’t seen in a while. Connecting can be a simple as a phone call, fishing, a game of golf, morning tea, or a meal together. “Let’s catch up for a coffee or beer!” “Let’s catch up for a coffee or beer!

YARN to listen

Start the conversation to allow mates to open up about how they’ve been travelling – the key is to listen and not judge. The best way to start this process is a simple “How have you been?”

MOTIVATE to act

The last step is in some respects the most important, encouraging action and offering support to any mate you think might need it. This step can include connecting your mates with professional services.

We did it!  Final concept plans for Oasis revealed…

Well we did it!

Working closely with the Queensland Government (Coralee O’Rourke, our State representative for Mundingburra, in particular) and Counterpoint Architects for the past 6 months to perfect the master plan, we now have a clear way ahead.

The step up from just refitting an old DPI building to redesigning the entire 5000m2 block and saving significant money by incorporating half the current building and preparing a master plan for growth of The Oasis Townsville is gold!

In February we’ll complete the detailed design and we’ll start demolition and construction after the potential wet season (fingers crossed we get one!). It’s been a bit tricky working with bureaucracy and politicians not to get ahead of government decision making and financial approvals and information dissemination but your patience has been rewarded.
Thanks to everyone involved.

John Caligari
Executive Officer

READ MORE HERE

 

 

 

Retreat for Veterans Gets DVA Funding Boost

A former soldier , Roger Dwyer, who assists returned service personnel in recovering from post traumatic stress disorder will be able to make major improvements to his Camp Gregory Veterans Retreat because of a $20,000 DVA Community Services grant.

Chester Media Release – Accessible mental health support for veterans

THE Government today acknowledged the release of two reports from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) — the 2018 update on the Causes of death among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: 2002–2015, and the National suicide monitoring of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.
download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the latest findings show those who choose to serve in the ADF are, on average, healthier than the general community. However, the findings also highlight the need to support the mental health of veterans, particularly those under 30.
“Our Government is putting veterans and their families first,” Mr Chester said.
“We are committed to supporting the physical and mental health of veterans and these reports provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of veterans’ health.
“We have taken significant steps in recent years to increase mental health support to our veterans, and our priority now is to enhance support to veterans during their transition period.
“Our Government provides more than $11.2 billion each year to deliver services and programs to support 290,000 veterans and their families, with $200 million spent on mental health alone.”

Eligible transitioning ADF members now automatically receive a DVA Health Card – Specific Conditions (White Card), which can be used to access treatment for any mental health condition, regardless of whether or not it is related to their service.
“This builds on the 2018–19 Budget measure, which expanded mental health treatment to eligible current and former Reservists without the need to link this condition to their service,” Mr Chester said.
“ADF personnel who receive a White Card for mental health treatment will not be required to make a claim with DVA to get treatment for mental health conditions—they can simply use their card to access treatment.”

women veterans anzac day 255661 1524533230888 main.640x0cADF veteran, Kellie Dadds who has been deployed eight times says the support will be valuable.
“This initiative will be welcomed by veterans who are transitioning from the ADF as it is another step easing the transition process. Knowing this support is available when required is pleasing and will ensure that veterans get treatment early should they need it,” Ms Dadds said.

Current and former ADF members transitioning to civilian life also have access to a comprehensive one-off health assessment with their general practitioner (GP).
“From 1 July 2019, all those leaving the ADF will be able to access an annual comprehensive health assessment by a GP for the first five years after they discharge,” Mr Chester said.
“This is a $2.1 million commitment from government and will assist in the early detection and treatment of mental and physical health concerns during transition to civilian life, addressing a high risk period for the emergence of mental health conditions and suicide.”

Mental health treatment provided through a White Card can include: consultations with a GP; psychiatrist; psychologist; mental health social worker or mental health occupational therapist; specialist PTSD programs; subsidised pharmaceuticals required to treat a condition, and hospital treatment. Health assessments can be accessed with a Medicare card.

Former ADF members who have already transitioned to civilian life can still access DVA funded treatment for any mental health condition through the use of a White Card by emailing the Department at [email protected]or calling 1800 555 254.
Eligible transitioning ADF members will receive their White Cards in the mail.

21 September 2018

War veterans find new meaning in civilian life by responding to disasters

When soldier Geoff Evans was serving in Afghanistan in 2010, a roadside bomb exploded underneath him. His spine was crushed and he had a brain injury so severe, he couldn’t write his own name.

While in recovery, the former Australian Army Lieutenant met a homeless veteran. The encounter led to his decision to start a charity to support veterans who were living rough.

But he didn’t stop there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

READ MORE

Invitation – Inquiry into ADF use of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine

On 19 June 2018 the Senate referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee a range of matters relating to the ADF use of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine for inquiry and report by 17 September 2018. 

The full terms of reference are to inquire with particular reference to:

(a) the current and past policies and practices for:
(i) prescribing Quinoline anti-malarial drugs to ADF personnel, and
(ii) identifying and reporting adverse drug reactions from Quinoline anti-malarial drugs among ADF personnel;

(b) the nature and extent of any adverse health effects of those who have taken Mefloquine/Tafenoquine on serving and former ADF personnel;

(c) the support available for partners, carers and families of personnel who experience any adverse health effects of Quinoline anti-malarial drugs;

(d) a comparison of international evidence/literature available on the impact of Quinoline anti-malarials;

(e) how other governments have responded to claims regarding Quinoline anti-malarials; and

(f) any other related matters.

The purpose of this letter of invitation is to draw your attention to the inquiry and to invite you or your organisation to make a written submission to the committee by 31 July 2018.

READ THE DETAILS

ALP – Labor announces Senate Inquiry Inquiry into the use of Anti – Malarials in the ADF

Today, Labor has announced that we will move to establish a Senate Inquiry into the use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force.

 

HWA

It is almost two years since the Turnbull Government first acknowledged concerns around the use of the anti-malarial drug, Mefloquine.

However, members of the serving and ex-service community have continued to raise their concerns around the side effects from some anti-malarial drugs which were taken during their service.

It is time for a proper and public examination of the issue and to establish the facts.

In that spirit, Labor has discussed the draft Terms of Reference with the Government to ensure the Senate Inquiry has the opportunity to work through this issue in an open and transparent manner and provide a thorough and comprehensive report about the use of Quinoline anti-malarial drugs in the ADF.

The draft terms of reference for the inquiry are:

The use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force with particular reference to:

A. Current and past policies and practices for prescribing quinolone anti-malarial drugs to ADF personnel

B. Current and past policies and practices for identifying and reporting adverse drug reactions from quinoline anti-malarial drugs among ADF personnel

C. The nature and extent of any adverse health effects of those who have taken Mefloquine/Tafenoquine on serving and former ADF personnel

D. Support available for partners, carers and families of personnel who experience any adverse health effects of quinoline anti-malarial drugs

E. A comparison of international evidence/literature available on the impact of quinoline anti-malarials

F. How other governments have responded to claims regarding quinoline anti-malarials

G. Any other related matters.

Labor understands this is a complex issue and looks forward to the Inquiry providing further transparency on this issue.

It is anticipated the inquiry would hold public hearings to allow all voices to have an opportunity to be heard.

Labor will consult with senators over the coming weeks to establish the inquiry during the next sittings of the Senate in June.

Amanda Rishworth MP & Senator Alex Gallacher
Tuesday 5 June 2018

DVA – Assistance Dog Trial to Help Tackle Veteran Mental Health

The Federal Government is putting veterans first with an innovative trial of assistance dogs for veterans.

La Trobe University in Victoria will partner with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) in conducting a $2 million trial of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) assistance dogs for veterans, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester announced today.

download 16

“I am pleased to announce that DVA has engaged La Trobe University, in partnership with the Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia, to undertake the trial of assistance dogs for veterans with PTSD as a supplement to clinical treatment,”Mr Chester said.

La Trobe is a leader in research involving our best friend and is the home to Australia’s first dedicated human-dog interaction laboratory. Dogs are great company, good fun, loyal friends and anyone who has had a dog knows they can be incredibly beneficial for your wellbeing.

“The trial will be a considered process that takes into account the specific needs of the participating veteran – such as determining the most appropriate breed and temperament of dog, and the bonding process between the dog and participant.”

Mr Chester said work would commence on the detailed design phase of the trial, including the process for veteran recruitment. Selection of participants will commence early in 2019, with dog or puppy selection taking place after that.

“Following the matching and suitability process, there will be a period of approximately 18 months for the initial dog training and the bonding process, prior to the placement of the dog with the participant on a permanent basis. It is expected that up to 20 participants will take part in the trial,” Mr Chester said.

“Unlike pet or companion dogs, assistance dogs are specially trained to perform ‘tasks’ that contribute to the clinical recovery goals of the individual. The assistance dog will be integrated as part of a clinical care plan involving the veteran and their mental health clinician.

“Of course, throughout this trial, the welfare and safety of the veterans and of the dogs will be paramount.”

La Trobe Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Nugent said that the University, in consultation with DVA, veteran mental health and industry experts, will establish and apply best practice protocols to guide the training, selection and monitoring of participants and assistance dogs.

“This world-first approach to assisting people with PTSD will see our researchers working alongside industry experts in assistance-dog training. Our students and staff will also play an integral role in this process. We expect this project to make a meaningful difference to the lives of our veterans,” Professor Nugent said.

Mr Chester said the assistance dog trial was just one of the new initiatives to strengthen the Turnbull Government’s commitment to veterans’ mental health and wellbeing.

“This trial involving DVA and La Trobe University will include consultation and the active participation of veterans through the design and delivery of this program.

30 May 2018

ADSO Comment

download 47This is a welcome initiative, long sought for by John Jarrett and Peter Wallace of Young Diggers with their Dog Squad initiative.

download 46See also Assistance Dogs International, Inc. (ADI) Setting standards for the assistance dog industry since 1987  It is a worldwide coalition of non-profit programs that train and place Assistance Dogs. Founded in 1986 from a group of seven small programs, ADI has become the leading authority in the Assistance Dog industry.

Chester Media Release – Expanding services for veterans and their families in partnership with Australia Post

A program to improve easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services for veterans and their families has been launched in Mount Gambier, South Australia and North Lakes in the Moreton Bay area of Queensland as part pilot the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is conducting with Australia Post.

download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the trial is part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing commitment to put veterans and their families first.

“This pilot, in partnership with Australia Post, is exploring the opportunity for DVA to further expand its reach to veterans and their families by tapping into the extensive network of Australia Post outlets,” Mr Chester said.

“The pilot provides easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services to veterans and their families who may not have had prior contact with DVA.

“This expansion to a further two sites will provide more information about the way this service is accessed by veterans and their families in metropolitan and regional areas and will help us assess the benefits of the service further.”

The pilot supplements DVA’s existing face-to-face service delivery network by leveraging the large Australia-wide footprint of Australia Post, it does not replace any existing DVA program or service.

Information is available via the in-store Australia Post kiosk facilities, as well as the Australia Post concierge service, in-store posters, brochures and videos.

A feedback form is available via the in-store iMac in which DVA is seeking ongoing user feedback to continue improving the service. The pilot will be evaluated before its conclusion at the end of June 2018.

18th April 2018

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

National Snapshot of Homelessness in Australian Cities

Interviews with more than 8000 people have been used to inform a new national snapshot of homelessness in Australian cities.

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The World Today speaks to the study lead from the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia.

LISTEN & READ MORE

Three minutes and ten seconds into the interview on homelessness in Australian capital cities the following is discussed:

PAUL FLATAU: So around about six per cent of the respondents actually said: “Yes, I have served in the Australian Defence Force.”
We actually don’t know what the number of veterans – this is post-World War Two and post-Korean war veterans, because very, very few of those that we interviewed were of an age – in fact, none were of an age of World War Two.
But we actually don’t know the total count of veterans in Australia in the worlds of interest to us. But six per cent seems very high.
But there’s another factor that was very important: and that was that the prevalence of serious brain injury was incredibly high amongst the veterans, much higher than the rest of the homeless group.
So around about half said “yes” to the question around serious brain injury, and that is a very alarming statistic. And we need to address that question of brain injury amongst veterans and obviously we need to address veterans’ homelessness.
It’s a question that was addressed in the US really strongly over a 10 year period. One of the major policies around homelessness in the US was about veterans’ homelessness.
And it’s been a very, very quiet issue in Australia.

THOMAS ORITI: Professor Paul Flatau, the director of the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia.
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Comment from Dr Rod Bain OAM
MBBS FRCA FANZCA
Member RACGP
ESO Medical Advisor

So, at long last, we have a solid statistic on which to base the financial assistance we need to plan for these individuals’ futures as they can can no longer be allowed to manage on their own devices in our Australian society..A ball park figure  of the 8000 interviews is that there are 240 or so Aust. Defence Community members in the streets as a result of moderate head injuries most of which would have received these injuries during their ADF time.

I intend to pursue this long and hard within our ESO community as well, but here we can be united, I believe, to have these individuals moved to better places as quickly as we can.