Our story

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS) is Australia’s leading provider of high quality mental health assessment and clinical counselling services for Australian veterans and their families.

We are focused on meeting client needs through a combination of proven clinical practices and new and emerging evidence-based approaches.

Founded by Australia's Vietnam veterans

The Vietnam War was a difficult chapter in Australia's history. For those who served, the experience forged strong bonds and a commitment to look out for each other. This deep sense of mateship led Vietnam veterans to lobby for a specialised counselling and support service for veterans and their families.

The result was the Vietnam Veterans’ Counselling Service (VVCS). VVCS was established by the Australian Government in 1982.

Since then, access to VVCS has been extended to veterans of all conflicts, their families, and other members of the ADF and ex-service community. In 2007 the service was renamed VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.

Eligibility has further expanded and, in 2018, VVCS became Open Arms.


The following document provides a quick overview of eligibility criteria.

Open arms are symbolically powerful for Australian veterans

Open Arms represents Australian soldiers standing in a field with open arms signalling for helicopters to land and the family welcoming home serving members after deployment.

Through Open Arms, Australia’s Vietnam veterans have ensured that future generations of serving men and women have access to the specialised mental health and wellbeing support they first pioneered in Australian in 1982.

Call us

To learn more about Open Arms' free, confidential 24-hour counselling service, including your eligibility, call 1800 011 046.