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Improving the mental health of ADF members in North Queensland.

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THE HON. GREG COMBET MP Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science

Thursday, 27 Aug 2009 049/2009


The Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, the Hon Greg Combet AM MP, today announced the relocation of psychological services and resources for ADF members to Lavarack Barracks, as part of a broader strategy to improve mental health services for ADF personnel in North Queensland.

The Psychology Support Section - North Queensland (PSS-NQ) will now be located at Lavarack Barracks which will mean that ADF members at Lavarack will have greater access to mental health professionals.

“The move will provide better access for ADF members to other health and support personnel including nurses, doctors, social workers, and chaplains,” Mr Combet said.

“This is the first step in a series of events that will unfold in Townsville over the next 12 months as a result of Professor David Dunt’s review of ADF mental health care.

“The move announced today is a significant step towards the implementation of a Primary Mental Health Care Multidisciplinary Team at the Barracks giving ADF members quick access to care when they need it, and at their workplace.

“In addition to the new Primary Mental Health Care Multidisciplinary Team, a new Regional Mental Health Team will be established at Lavarack Barracks within the next 12 months.

“The Regional Mental Health Team will provide secondary level mental health services including outpatient treatment programs, supervision of more complex cases, and the delivery and coordination of mental health training for ADF personnel.

“The Regional Mental Health Team will be created with a Coordinator and a minimum of three other professionals, including a clinical psychologist,” Mr Combet said.

The Rudd Government has allocated $83 million over the next four years to start a major program of reform across Defence in the area of mental health which will include the provision of improved mental health governance and policy, enhancing the mental health workforce, improving training for ADF personnel and providers, and enhancing prevention strategies.

Please note Defence Media has a new phone number: 02 6127 1999.

The existing number will be automatically diverted to the new number for three months. The existing after-hours duty mobile 0408 498 664 will remain.

Media contacts: Rod Hilton (Greg Combet): 02 6277 4771 or 0458 276 619 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664