ADA/Soldier On initiative tags mental health

Contact details for Soldier On will be featured on more than 500,000 new Australian Defence Force uniforms, as part of a initiative to address the emotional battles ADF personnel face away from the front line.

Under a partnership with Melbourne-based uniform manufacturer Australian Defence Apparel (ADA), the addition of Soldier On swing tags to Defence uniforms will enable servicepeople to find help and reduce the stigma around mental illness in the ADF.

“ADF personnel will now learn about the free, tailored mental-health services available to them, right from the first time they pull on their Army gear,” ADA CEO Matt Graham said.

“These tags are one way the ADF is saying it’s OK for soldiers to ask for help,” Mr Graham said.

“It also shows the ADF is responding to the prevalence of mental illnesses among its personnel, and that there are services nationwide, provided by Soldier On, to help those suffering,” he said.


“In 2016, we will be manufacturing over 40,000 army garments a month featuring the Soldier On tag,” Mr Graham said.

Support Soldier On – shop at the Soldier On shop – HERE
Support Soldier On – shop at the Soldier On shop – HERE

Soldier On CEO John Bale said that the uniform swing tags featuring the organisation’s contact details were essential to spreading the word about the free mental-health services and programs they offer.

“Those seeing the tags are likely to know someone who might need assistance, or might need help themselves, and will now have a better idea of how to find it,” Mr Bale said.

“Last year’s senate inquiry into the mental health of ADF personnel found that soldiers had been sidelined – or even lost their jobs – after flagging mental health problems.

“This contributed to many servicepeople suffering in silence, and resisting coming forward and asking for help out of fear of loosing their jobs.

“Research has found that there has been a four-fold increase in PTSD cases since Australian troops first went to war in Afghanistan in 2001.

Since 2000, 106 serving defence personal and more than 140 former service personnel have committed suicide.”

Soldier On programs include coffee catch-ups, art classes, outdoor adventure activities and social events for both acting service people and veterans.

“These types of activities have been proven to improve the rehabilitation of those affected by their service, and are the first step towards improving the support offered to our veterans and their families,” Mr Bale said.

Mr Graham said ADA has been providing physical protection to soldiers in combat for more than 100-years, and through two world wars.

“The Soldier On partnership builds on our long history of protecting army personnel, by now promoting their mental wellbeing through inclusion of Soldier On’s details with every uniform we make,” he said.

Corporal Daniel Keighran VC, recently appointed as an ADA ambassador, said that he was proud to be supporting a company with a long history of protecting people on the frontline.

“Working with ADA, I am able to contribute my experiences with equipment to assist in continuing to deliver quality uniforms to my fellow servicepeople,” Corporal Keighran said.

In 2012, Corporal Keighran was awarded a Victoria Cross for purposefully drawing enemy fire to himself in order to save the lives of his fellow soldiers during a deadly firefight in Afghanistan.


EDITORIAL NOTE: CONTACT supports Soldier On and encourages all readers to do likewise, either by donating directly, shopping at the Soldier On Shop or by simply looking after your mates. However, we feel compelled to point out that Soldier On is a charity designed to assist soldiers in their recovery after they have admitted they need help and usually after they have been diagnosed with a mental-health issue, such as PTSD. Soldier On is not a first-port-of-call for those who desperately need assistance. If you or anyone you know is in need of immediate assistance, you should call 000 or 1300 659 467 – Suicide Call Back Service or 13 11 14 – Lifeline






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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

3 thoughts on “ADA/Soldier On initiative tags mental health

  • 23/04/2016 at 1:39 pm

    Actually I think this is a poor stunt, just goes to show why I don’t support solider on or any other pop up over night organisations. everyone is just worried about having their names up in lights, look at me, look what I can do for you. its bloody pathetic. its funny people have been needing shit like this for years, and nothing happened, but all of a sudden people want to make money from it, you need to sit back and look at yourselves.

  • 23/04/2016 at 11:51 am

    Brian, I find it disheartening that Contact, ADA, Soldier and with respect CPL Keighran, VC do not know of a free service provided to Veterans, ADF service Personnel and their families. The VVCS is an Australian wide service established in every capital city and in places like Lismore, Wodonga, Townsville, Cairns, Devenport, Launceston etc etc. I first used their services in 1999 when I had issues from PTSD from my service in Cambodia, exacerbated from a more than sub-standard boss in the workplace. After I was medically discharged (PTSD and Injuries sequelae Military Vehicle Accident in Cambodia), I continued seeing them for over 5 years and every now and again go in for a tune up. I can’t understand why there is a double-up of services when the VVCS is well respected? Visit the site

    • 23/04/2016 at 1:14 pm

      No disrespect, Paul, but I think you are wrong to say those you list are unaware of VVCS. I am certainly aware of VVCS, though, thankfully, have never needed their services personally. I also know for a fact that Soldier On is aware of VVCS, because on the Soldier On help page, VVCS is listed fourth of 12 or more helpful phone numbers and web sites. I only listed three in my article, to keep it simple and, in fact – sort of in line with the gist of your comment – because there is a lot of doubling/tripling/quadrupling up in services in this space. I also thought it was wise to list the top-most important numbers for immediate assistance in suicide prevention.
      While this story was actually about a Soldier On initiative with ADA (which I class as a very good PR stunt) I actually wouldn’t list VVCS or Soldier On on any list of ‘immediate points of call’ in a crisis (000 should always be number one). Nor would I list Soldier On higher than VVCS on my list of second-tier helpful numbers. But that’s a whole different story.
      In the second line of support for PTSD and other issues, VVCS, Soldier On and a growing number of other organisations all have their place, their worth and their function – and I’m pleased to assure you that VVCS is right up there at the forefront of my consciousness.
      Brian Hartigan
      Managing Editor


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