Govt tables response to mental health and mefloquine report

Government’s response to the Senate Inquiry Report on the Mental Health of ADF Members and Veterans was tabled in the Senate today.

The report and the government’s response also addressed the issue of mefloquine administration to ADF members.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the government would increase mental health support for Australian Defence Force members and veterans – and committed to additional support for current and former ADF members who have been administered mefloquine.

“Since July 1 this year the government has made free mental health treatment available to all current and former permanent members of the ADF for a range of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and alcohol and substance use disorders,” Mr Tehan said.

“The government has committed $6 million to establish a Phoenix Australia institute for world-leading experts and research to improve mental health treatment and reduce the burden of post-traumatic stress among our veterans. 

 

 

“We have announced an additional $3.1 million to further extend access to the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).

“There is additional support available now to ADF members, veterans and families, and I encourage anyone who has concerns about their mental health or the mental health of someone they know to ask for help.”

Mr Tehan said the Government had also engaged the National Mental Health Commission to analyse the effectiveness of suicide- and self-harm-prevention services provided by Defence and DVA.

He said the Department of Veterans’ Affairs had also established a dedicated mefloquine support team for our serving and ex-serving community.

He said the government would:

 

– establish a formal community consultation mechanism to provide an open dialogue on issues concerning mefloquine between the Defence Links Committee and the serving and ex-serving ADF community; 

– develop a more comprehensive online resource that will provide information on anti-malarial medications; 

– establish a dedicated DVA mefloquine support team to assist our serving and ex-serving ADF community with mefloquine-related claims, which will provide a specialised point of contact with DVA; and,

– direct the inter-departmental DVA-Defence Links Committee to examine the issues raised, consider existing relevant medical evidence and provide advice to the government by November 2016.

“Any former member who was administered mefloquine by the ADF and is concerned about possible side effects, can lodge a claim for a condition that they think was caused by mefloquine,” Mr Tehan said.

“As part of the claims process for the condition, DVA can arrange an appointment with an appropriate medical practitioner and meet the costs of any required medical report. 

 

The Government Response to the Senate Inquiry Report can be found HERE..

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Brian Hartigan

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