New hotline to assist GPs with veterans’ mental health

Matt Woodley

4/08/2020 3:36:55 PM

The resource will provide access to free expert advice on mental health issues related to serving in Australia’s defence forces.

Marching soldiers
GPs can access the service immediately via 1800 VET 777 (1800 838 777).

Health challenges among Australia’s veterans are well documented, with ex-servicemen and women experiencing higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), homelessness, and suicide than the general population.
GPs are central to veterans’ healthcare delivery in Australia, a fact the Government has recognised with a new Veteran Mental Health GP Assistance Hotline, which the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said can be accessed immediately via 1800 VET 777 (1800 838 777).
‘GPs play an important role in coordinating a patient’s care, requesting additional tests, treatment or assessment by other health professionals, and making referrals to relevant Department of Veterans’ Affairs [DVA] services or programs,’ Minister Chester said.
‘The new Veteran Mental Health GP Assistance Hotline will provide GPs with access to free expert advice on the unique mental health challenges that our veterans can face from health practitioners who are clinically trained in veteran mental health.’
In addition to the GP Assistance Hotline, a general advice hotline has also been made available to anyone in Australia seeking information and resources on veteran mental health and treatments.
A Community of Practice (COP) for PTSD Trauma Recovery Program providers will also reportedly be established as part of the Government’s $1.4 million investment in mental health services, creating a network of PTSD service providers dedicated to the provision of evidence-informed mental health care for veterans.
The new initiative is aligned with the Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan, especially with regards to improving the quality of care from health providers through professional development.
‘This funding will improve awareness of veteran mental health issues in our healthcare system,’ Minister Chester said.
‘[It] has significant potential to have a real impact on the health and wellbeing of our veteran community.’
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