The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed new Budget initiatives to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare workforce to provide more timely, seamless and high quality services to veterans and their families.
‘The investment in an extra 10 specialised training positions each year for psychiatrists in veterans’ and military mental health will greatly enhance workforce capability to deliver services specific to the unique needs of veterans and military personnel,’ said RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan.
‘The expansion of military and veteran psychiatry training will also more broadly increase the capacity of the future mental health workforce by providing trainees with valuable exposure to this unique area of psychiatry.
‘This will greatly improve access to high quality, evidence-based and tailored mental health care able to more effectively focus on the long-term recovery and wellbeing of veterans and their families.
‘We are also supportive of changes to simplify fee schedules for allied mental health and other healthcare workers which will help make the claims process easier to navigate for veterans and their families.
‘Support for current service members and veterans should be seamless, ensuring continuous access to services throughout enlistment, training, deployment, discharge and ongoing civilian life,’ said Associate Professor Allan.
The Budget commitments come on top of the recently announced appointment of a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.
The RANZCP is committed to supporting people in suicidal distress and working with governments and communities to prevent suicides.
‘We support the general principles underpinning this new role, in particular that it should take a restorative and trauma-informed approach, which puts families at the centre of its work,’ said Associate Professor Allan.
‘We have also strongly advocated for an independent National Commissioner to enhance the confidence of veterans and their families.’
Associate Professor Allan emphasised that the RANZCP recognised the unique occupational risks associated with military roles and the mental health challenges faced by Australian veterans.
‘We will continue to advocate to improve the organisation and coordination of health services across all levels and types of care for military personnel and veterans.
‘This should include the increased involvement of, and support for, families and community in both the therapeutic and administrative processes for veterans,’ said Associate Professor Allan.
The RANZCP will continue to work closely with the government and Department of Veterans’ Affairs and looks forward to the work of the new National Commissioner improving the mental health outcomes for current service members and veterans.
For all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.
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