Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today announced the establishment of a Peer Mentor Network in Townsville that will assist current and former Australian Defence Force personnel recover from a mental-health condition.
FILE PHOTO: Farewell parade for Middle-East-bound troops in Townsville, June 2017. 3 Brigade photo.
Mr Tehan said the Peer Mentor Network would support the work of the Townsville Suicide Prevention Trial Site. The trial’s advisory committee will contribute to informing the structure and priorities of the Network.
“The Network will see trained, volunteer Peer Mentors, who have experienced a mental health condition, matched with veterans who are at the beginning of their recovery,” Mr Tehan said.
“A mentor who has experienced the Defence Forces and the challenges of a mental-health issue can provide valuable support to someone starting their recovery.
“Peer Mentors can help a veteran see there is light at the end of the tunnel and that help is available and it does work.
“Peer Mentors are helping to break down barriers preventing veterans from seeking help and will be able to point others in the right direction for recovery.”
The Peer Mentor Network will be established with the support of the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) along with collaboration from local ex-service organisations (ESOs).
Mr Tehan said collaboration with ESOs was vital to the success of the Peer Mentor Network as they would coordinate their trained mentors and, in many cases, be the first point of contact for referrals.
“Staff from the VVCS Community Coordination pilot in Townsville, which now includes two full-time Community and Peer Advisors, will be able to provide guidance and monthly training to mentors and their peers to ensure the Network has an additional layer of clinical support.”
If you are interested in the Peer Mentor Network, please contact the VVCS Townsville office on (07) 4723 9155.