A free assessment and referral service for veterans in the WentWest Health area is being offered by St John of God Health Care, in conjunction with Western Sydney Primary Health Network.

The VEAP program provides access to information on mental health services and veteran entitlements, a full clinical assessment and referrals to available services.

The program is also available to partners and children or other family members caring for veterans experiencing difficulties.

Dom Hilbrink, Senior Clinician and VEAP Program Manager at St John of God Richmond Hospital says it is important for family members to have access to the program.

“In our experience, living with someone who is struggling with mental health injuries can be a stressful and lonely experience.

“Partners, in particular, can carry the burden of trying to keep the household running and shielding kids from the anxiety, stress, anger and so on.

“We feel that it is important for family members of veterans to be acknowledged and supported, but we also know that engaging the whole family greatly improves recovery and quality of life outcomes.”

He said while there are many services funded by the DVA and organisations catering specifically to veterans and their families many veterans did not know about them.

“Many veterans just simply aren’t aware that these services are available or know how to access them. So that is something that we are definitely working to improve with the VEAP program,” he said.

St John of God Health Care has over 25 years’ experience as a national leader in understanding, treatment and management of traumatic stress injuries.

Treatment programs include:
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Alcohol and other drugs
• Trauma-focused Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
• Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

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