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Counselling service offers support for local veterans.



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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E David.Hawker.MP@aph.gov.au W www.davidhawker.com.au

Federal Member for Wannon

28 April 2008

COUNSELLING SERVICE OFFERS SUPPORT FOR LOCAL VETERANS

While ANZAC Day was enjoyed around Western Victoria as a day of commemoration, for many veterans it would also have been a time of mixed emotions and Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, would like to remind veterans and their families that support services are just a phone call away.

Mr Hawker said the 24-hour Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) offers free, confidential support and referral for all veterans, as well as their children and spouses.

“Twenty six years ago a group of Vietnam veterans came together to establish a counselling service that specifically supported veterans dealing with the effects of their Vietnam service,” he said.

“The Vietnam veteran community established a great legacy of mutual support and today that legacy has been extended to all veterans and their families.”

Today, 26 years after VVCS was established, the service provides Australia-wide support and services to veterans of all conflicts and peace operations, wives, widows, partners, sons and daughters, as well as eligible Defence personnel. Any veteran, peacekeeper or member of their family, can refer themselves to the VVCS.

“Commemorative days such as ANZAC Day are an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served in our defence forces, but some also find it a difficult time,” Mr Hawker said.

“Major anniversaries can trigger various memories and feelings, not always pleasant, and it is important that veterans and their families have access to appropriate levels of support. Sometimes family and friends are the best source of this, but professional services such as those available through the VVCS can also be extremely beneficial.”

The VVCS is a specialised and confidential Australia-wide service which can be accessed by calling 1800 011 046. The Australian Government also provides free treatment for veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, regardless of whether it is service-related or not.

“The important thing for veterans to remember is to enjoy meeting up with their mates on these significant occasions, but also not to be afraid to ask for help if they feel they need it,” Mr Hawker said.

“I urge all those eligible to make use of the wide range of professional, free and confidential counselling services of the VVCS.”

Further information about the VVCS can be found at www.dva.gov.au/health/vvcs

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Media contact: Jane Templeton (03) 5572 1100