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Mental health support trial for reservists and families


Australian Defence Force Reservists and their families will benefit from a trial Reserve Assistance Program that offers a comprehensive range of support services for their mental health and wellbeing.

Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert said the extension of the program to the Reserve workforce builds on existing mental health and wellbeing strategies implemented by Defence.

"There are currently 47,000 Reservists in the ADF and since 1999 over 21,000 have deployed on operations in locations such as the Middle East, Timor Leste and here at home supporting disaster relief efforts," Mr Robert said.

"This trial will provide confidential, cost-free, professional counselling services to assist Reserve members and their immediate families who have mental health issues, regardless of whether those issues are directly related to their military service."

The trial of the Reserve Assistance Program forms part of Project Suakin, which is driving comprehensive ADF workforce reform that supports ADF members and encourages them to build long-term, rewarding careers with Defence.

It also complements the service and support provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.

"The trial, which will run until June 2015, will expand on the existing Defence APS Employee Assistance Program and is another example of the Government's commitment to caring for all ADF members, including Reservists," Mr Robert said.

Serving Reserve personnel, including those Army Standby Reserve members providing service, and their immediate family members, are eligible to access the program.

The Reserve Assistance Program can provide counselling face-to-face, by telephone or email, or over the internet. To access the Reserve Assistance Program, members can contact a counsellor on 1300 361 008 or 1800 451 138 for after-hours crisis counselling support.

Image by Stuart Miles from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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