Veteran Family Toolkit

Veteran Family Toolkit

Formal Title: Veteran Family Toolkit
Method: Mixed methods research design
Bolton Clarke: Dr Judy Lowthian, Dr Liz Cyarto, Dr Marissa Dickins, Ms Georgina Johnstone
Duration: November 2016 – current
Status: Expert Panel Meetings and Focus Groups being conducted


Over half (54%) of individuals in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) experience a mental health diagnosis in their lifetime. In addition to being slightly higher than the rate reported for the general community (49%), the profile of mental health differs. ADF members are more likely to experience depression, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is evidence that ADF family members can experience distress in response to mental health issues, and also that good family function is an integral part of maintaining or improving an ADF member’s mental health. The need for education, about the impacts of mental health symptoms on the individual as well as their family is imperative, particularly, targeting destructive anger reactions and avoidance behaviours to reduce partner and family distress. This project fills a gap in the support services available to members and their families. Toolkits aimed at supporting members exist, however there is nothing specifically for family members.


To co-create an evidence-based mental health family toolkit that will facilitate accurate identification, management and understanding of mental health issues and their impact on the family unit in veterans and their families. It will focus on the importance of early intervention, support and crisis planning to minimise overall stress within families, in order to build resilience within family units and avoid permanent disability.


Mixed-method research design; involving five distinct components

  • Component 1: Systematic Evidence Review
  • Component 2: Expert Panel Discussions
  • Component 3: Member and Family interviews / focus groups
  • Component 4: Mental Health Resource development
  • Component 5: Evaluation of the Mental Health Resource


November 2016 to December 2018

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