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Funding campaign to address concerns for Veteran mental health

A MAJOR campaign will launch on Saturday to raise the bar on getting the help that our Veterans need and deserve.

RSLWA Chief Executive Officer John McCourt says the corporate, philanthropic and Veteran communities will gather this Saturday night for the Help Our Heroes campaign launch at a gala Charity Ball at Crown Perth.

rslwa help our heroes
RSLWA is addressing the Veteran suicide rate head on with its new Help Our Heroes campaign, to be launched on Saturday. Photo: ADF

The campaign will seek donations to fund the completion of the ground-breaking Veteran Central facility in the Perth CBD, as well as fund programs and services to address an urgent increase in issues such as Veteran mental health, wellbeing, employment and social inclusion.

The campaign launch comes at a time of increased concern as to a spike in the Veteran suicide rate.

Mr McCourt said that while the majority of new Veterans were coping well after leaving the Australian Defence Force for civilian life, there were those who weren’t – and RSLWA was stepping up its mission to work with other Ex-Service Organisations to do things better to address this together.

“The fact that the suicide rate has doubled in those who left the ADF between 2010 and 2015 is more than enough evidence for a call to action,” Mr McCourt said.

“Research also shows that between 2002 and 2015, the suicide rate among serving and ex-service personnel was 14 percent above the national average. In fact, more Veterans have taken their own lives since 2001 than the total of those killed in battle in the Middle East.”

Saturday night’s Charity Ball will address the urgent need to bolster support for veterans and their families.

While RSLWA says the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has improved its delivery of outcomes for ex-service personnel, there was more to be done as many newer Veterans felt frustrated by a sometimes overly bureaucratic process to secure entitlements.

“The men and women who have honourably served Australia with distinction should always receive the help they were promised”, Mr McCourt said.

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