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Veteran Family Mental Wellbeing Series

Research Priority: Addressing post-traumatic mental health
Researchers: Judy Lowthian, Liz Cyarto, Marissa Dickins, Georgina Johnstone
Research partners: Altura Learning
Study population: Veterans, their families and ex-service organisations

The video series was developed in response to our research project that explored the experience of veterans and their families and identified gaps in health and social care for current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families. Focus groups and interviews held in Townsville and Brisbane with 88 current and ex-serving ADF members, their families and members of ex-service organisations identified a number of key areas of interest, including:

  • the difficulties faced during transition out of the ADF
  • mental health needs across different groups of veterans
  • challenges faced in seeking help for mental health conditions
  • impact of service and mental health conditions on family members
  • the need to support partners, children and parents of veterans.

A key service gap perceived by participants was a lack of support for families of serving and ex-serving members of the ADF. Family members expressed feeling excluded, left behind and ignored. They felt services and support were provided primarily at crisis point, if at all.

These findings provided the impetus to create the Veteran Family Mental Wellbeing Series as an avenue for evidence-based information about mental health and to provide hope that recovery is possible.

A collaboration between the Research Institute and Altura Learning, this five-episode series of videos aims to inform and educate current and former members of the ADF and importantly families and friends about mental health. These videos were designed to break down the stigma around seeking help and were developed with input from veterans, families and experts in the field. The series encompasses post-traumatic mental health, avenues to treatment and how to best support yourself and your loved one.

A sixth video was created for health and care professionals working with individuals living with post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia.

Conference Presentations

Cyarto, E., Lowthian, J. A., Dickins, M., & Johnstone, G. (2017). Promoting wellbeing and resilience in older veterans and military families. Table Top presentation at Australian Association of Gerontology Conference, Perth, Australia.

Dickins, M., Johnstone, G., Cyarto, E., Feldman, S., & Lowthian, J. A. (2018). Promoting wellbeing and resilience in veterans and military families. Paper presented at the Australian Institute of Family Studies 2018 Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Cyarto, E., Dickins, M., Johnstone, G., Feldman, S., & Lowthian, J. A. (2018). Promoting wellbeing and resilience in ageing veterans and military families. Paper presented at the International Federation on Ageing Global Conference, Toronto, Canada.