Changing attitudes to mental illness in the Australian Defence Force: a long way to go…

Dr Edward Scarr
2015 Australian Parliamentary Fellow

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List of interviewees
Executive summary


Defining the problem

Prevalence rates of mental ill-health in service personnel and veterans
Contemporary Australia
First-hand accounts of personal impacts


The Parliament of Australia

Floor of parliament
Ministerial statements
Vietnam veteran influence
References to the previous Labor Government
Minor party positions
The Long Way Home
Self-fulfilling prophecy
Independent voices
Previous committee inquiry
Recent Senate committee inquiry
Parliamentary Friendship Groups

Defence—policy background on mental health

Department of Veterans’ Affairs—policy background on mental health

Pathways to Care in Veterans Recently Compensated for a Mental Health Condition (ACPMH—now Phoenix Australia)
Independent Study into Suicide in the Ex-Service Community 2009 (DVA, conducted by Professor David Dunt)
Australian National Audit Office Audit Report: Administration of Mental Health Initiatives to Support Younger Veterans (DVA)
Australian Public Service Commission Review of DVA 2013
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Annual Report 2013–14
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Annual Report 2014–15
DVA submission to the recent Senate inquiry
2014–15 Department of Veterans’ Affairs Budget Fact Sheet
Image problem


Ex-Service Organisations
Reported experiences of members of the 2nd Commando Regiment—a case study
International and Australian approaches to PTSD

Conclusion—harnessing the chaos



Appendix A—veteran testimonials

Appendix B

Moral injury
Problems with PTSD itself
The need for a realistic narrative on military ‘service’
Limitations of the entitlement narrative

Appendix C

Rural Fire Service model—Paul Patti, veteran advocate

Appendix D

Abbreviations and acronyms



This paper was prepared under the Parliamentary Library’s Australian Parliamentary Fellowship. The views expressed in this paper are those of the Fellowship author, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Parliamentary Library.

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