Torquay RSL appeals to Afghanistan Veterans
DRAMATIC scenes following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban have prompted appeals to veterans and their families to connect with their local RSL if they need support.
Torquay RSL president Bob Tyler said he was concerned about the wellbeing of veterans who served in Afghanistan.
“I understand how many of those who served in Afghanistan might be feeling at this time, as I had similar feelings when we evacuated from Vietnam,” Mr Tyler said.
“We have trained wellbeing advocates who are here to help anyone who served in Afghanistan, and to help them reach out to support services available to them and their families if they need it.”
The comments echo those made by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, Andrew Gee, who said it was a distressing time for many veterans.
Australians on operations in Afghanistan. Photo: DEFENCE IMAGES
“We must never forget the 41 Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Mr Gee said. “I understand many of those who served our nation in Afghanistan may feel frustrated, concerned and distressed at what is unfolding there.
“My primary concern is the wellbeing of all of our veterans, defence personnel, here at home and abroad, and their families.
“I encourage anyone who served in Afghanistan to reach out to support services available to them and their families if they need it.”
Since the start of the Afghanistan War more than 500 Australian military veterans have died by suicide.
Mr Tyler said a range of help and support services are available for veterans and their families.
“Any ADF people, veterans or their families can call Open Arms 24 hours a day,” Mr Tyler advised.
“If you need to talk but don’t want to disclose your name, please call Safe Zone Support which offers anonymous counselling service for ADF personnel, veterans and their families. It’s free and available 24/7.”
Mr Tyler reminded Afghanistan veterans to reach out to any mates and their families who may be finding it difficult at this time.
“Although COVID restrictions are keeping us apart, there has never been a more critical time to ensure we stay connected.”