Mental Health Support for Current and Ex-Serving Australian Defence Force Members Requires a Specialised ApproachVeteran & Military : May 26, 2023
Veterans and their families face unique experiences during a military career, and when transitioning to civilian life.
Military life can involve significant challenges, including exposure to life-and-death situations, that can adversely affect mental health. For many veterans, military service and operational deployment can also lead to a strong sense of identity and belonging, which can be lost when they are no longer serving.
For clinicians working with veterans, demonstrating an understanding of the military experience can enhance therapeutic alliance and the delivery of effective treatment. Veterans are more likely to engage with health care practitioners they feel understand, or seek to understand, their mental health problems within the context of their military service.
Understanding the Complexities and Challenges Faced by the Defence Community is Critical for Effective Treatment
From our vast experience working with serving and ex-serving members, Zed3 Medical Group has become a trusted partner in providing mental health services to Defence personnel and veterans. This has given us a deep understanding and appreciation of the intricacies of Defence culture, the unique operating environments to which they are exposed and the reality of the high operational tempo. Our psychologists and psychiatrists are in a unique position to quickly establish rapport and grasp the scenarios and situations discussed by our clients.
Not all mental health practitioners have the experience to work through military specific trauma. Specialist understanding is needed to break through barriers such as:
- concerns over deployability or whether they will be permitted to continue serving if they raise their mental health concern with their chain of command
- co-morbid physical health problems related to service including muscoskeletal injuries and chronic pain, which can affect quality of life and mental health
- the impact of leaving the Defence community and loss of identity
- overcoming the ‘harden up’ paradigm – the sense that Defence members must be tough and ‘feeling sad’ is ‘being weak’.
Zed3 is relied on as a safe space to take charge of mental health and wellbeing and find the quality-of-life Defence personnel seek, whether as a civilian or continuing their military careers.
Support for Australian Defence Force Members Needs to be Prioritised
Psychological challenges are among the most common health issues facing veterans and Defence personnel. Addressing these challenges continues to be urgent.
The 2010 ADF Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study – which interviewed 49% of ADF members – found that within 12 months:
- 22% ‘experienced a mental disorder’, with anxiety disorders highest among female members and affective (mood) disorders, like ‘depressive episodes’ higher among males
- 17.9% ‘sought help for stress, emotional, mental health or family problems’
- 27.6% were concerned that reporting a mental disorder might result in being treated differently
- 26.9% feared their career might be harmed
- 36.9% stated the ‘highest rated barrier to seeking help was concern it would reduce deployability’.
In this last decade, mental health initiatives for Defence have grown to support, destigmatising talking about mental health and improving access to mental health support. However, the timeframes for processing claims are drawn out and impede access to treatment, causing frustration for all involved. Zed3 is a key service provider delivering quick, reliable and high-quality reporting and mental health services. We deliver a range of services, from psychological therapies, medico-legal reports and world-leading next step treatments.
For Veterans seeking compensation for mental illness that was caused (or exacerbated) by their service, our team are experts in meeting DVA requirements to aid fast decision-making and turnaround times.
Following referral to Zed3, Defence personnel and Veterans can meet with a psychiatrist for their first consultation within a matter of weeks.
DVA Initial Diagnosis, Initial Liability and Permanent Impairment Claims
Zed3 Veteran Services are a specialised team of experts ready to assist Veterans in completing DVA claims paperwork relating to mental health conditions.
All reports are completely independent and based on detailed, structured interviews and psychometrics with veterans or Defence personnel.
Consultations can be online through telehealth or in clinic.
The referral process is simple:
For Initial Assessment or Retrospective Medical Discharge opinions requests, send a detailed GP referral to Psychiatrist, Zed Three Specialist Centre, c/o email@example.com
To have Zed3 assist with ILC/PI paperwork, note Zed Three Specialist Centre as the treating psychiatrist, as this allows us to receive your ILC/PI paperwork from your DVA delegate. In addition, our Psychiatrist’s clinical recommendations can be forwarded to your treating GP.
Next-Step Treatments – Rethinking our Understanding of PTSD
There has been little change in the understanding of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in recent history. It remains a difficult to treat condition in all populations but made even more difficult when dealing with the complexities of military service. Zed3 work actively with a number of research Institutes around the world to advance the understanding of military PTSD, and develop and implement new treatment paradigms to improve the lives of those suffering with this disorder.
Our ReVive program is an example of our approach. First established in late 2019 with the support of the DVA, we have now delivered our program to more than 160 Veterans with positive results.
Dedicated to Improving the Quality of Defence Mental Healthcare
Zed3 Medical Group is taking strides to improve the quality of healthcare policy and delivery.
Zed3 has progressive, evidence-based treatments and services under one roof, like:
- ReVive Infusion therapy
- Psychiatric Assessments for Initial Diagnosis, Initial Liability, Permanent Impairment and Retrospective Medical Discharge
- trauma-focused psychotherapies.
Zed3 also works with universities globally to advance precision psychiatry in Australia and develop evidence-based treatment for service-related disorders, including PTSD.
The team is getting the best possible clinical outcomes for all life stages through research and education and bringing precision medicine to the forefront.