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Veterans' mental health: More to be done, say Greens

Media Release
Penny Wright 4 May 2013

The Australian Greens will query the effectiveness of mental health services for veterans, as extra funding for mental health was revealed in yesterday's Defence White Paper.

Australian Greens spokesperson for Mental Health and Veterans Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, welcomed the further funding, but suggested the full extent of veterans mental health needs was yet to be determined.

"The new generation of veterans returning from places like Iraq and Afghanistan will face considerable challenges," Senator Wright said.

"Mental ill-health carries a lot of stigma for veterans and too many are still reluctant to seek the help they need.

"What the Australian Greens will be asking in estimates later this month is how this further funding can help close this gap and how it will be administered to reach those most in need.

"We will also ask what is best practice to  protect against psychological damage for people serving in conflict zones.

"We want to know that this money will make a difference."

Senator Wright said it was pleasing the Federal Government had acknowledged the need for further support for families of veterans.

"So often, partners and loved ones also share the cost of military service, and research shows they are at significantly higher risk of poor mental health than the rest of the population," Senator Wright said.

"I have campaigned for greater support for family members of veterans for some time, so it is very positive news that eligibility criteria will be widened for current service personnel, veterans and their family members."

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