Thousands of locals remembered the sacrifices made by Australians war heroes during commemorative Anzac Day services held across the Macarthur district on Monday. Record numbers turned up to watchor participate in marches that took place along the main streets of Campbelltown, Camden and Wollondilly.
With public enthusiasm and respect for the legend of Anzac growing year after year across the country, it’s reasonable to expect that young veterans returning home from tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq will be well cared for. Right?
That expectation however in no way resembles actual reality.
Thousands of young Aussie war heroes are homeless and sleeping on the streets.
Mentally scarred from their experiences, they struggle to adjust to civilian life and accesshelp to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Department of Veteran Affairsoffers many support programs but remains stuck in the technological dark ages when processing veteran claims. Archaic protocols mean hard copy files are still sent snail mail from one department office to another with the unfortunate consequence being they are regularly lost.As a result, receiving entitlements from the DVA is a lengthy and arduous process that prolongs suffering.
In 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald reported the number of PTSD-related suicides among former soldiers was estimated to be three times Australian combat losses in Afghanistan.Just last month a senate inquiry into the Mental Health of ADF Members and Veterans suggested “the system is failing to properly assist veterans with the most basic of needs”.
These young veterans served our country too and now they need our help. Lest we forget. Theyput their lives on the line in service of Australia and we owe those who are struggling, more than words and a parade.
That so many battle mental illness and homelessness is a national tragedy.
It appears however that better mental health services and funding to address to housing needs will only occur if we let our politicians know we care about the issue.
The July 2 federal election is an opportunity to effect positive change. Every call made or letter sent to district MPs and election candidatesdemanding better for veterans will help. Make that effort andmaybe make a difference.
– Editor Roma Dickins
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.