#Check5 This holiday period, we encourage all veterans and their family members to square away their mental health and check in with 5 people in their lives. Connect with them, yarn with them and motivate them to act.
This year has presented significant challenges for everyone, in the way of natural disasters, the COVID pandemic and with particular impact on the veteran community - the release of the IGADF Report. These have resulted in an increased focus on maintaining mental health and wellbeing and a recognition of the power of connection.
We encourage all veterans and their family members to check in with 5 people in their lives. We are asking the veteran community to:
Educate themselves: learn how to connect and have difficult conversations
Take action: engage your network to provide support over the holiday period, through accepting the challenge to check in with five mates and challenging them to do the same.
Plan to connect
There are a range of way for us to connect with each other, take time to:
Write: This could be a text or an email to a mate. A simple message can be:
- Hey mate, how are you doing today?
- Hey mate, how have you been? Would you like to catch up for a walk?
- Hey mate, do you have anything planned this weekend? We have a spare seat at our table for dinner if you’re free?
Call: We all like to hear a friend’s voice or see their face. After this year in particular there are a range of methods to do so, that we have become experts in, such as Facetime, Zoom and Skype.
Visit: Sometimes it is easier to connect through activity. Consider a BBQ or a walk – something that gets you moving and can create a good opportunity to reach out to someone in a casual and comfortable situation.
Sometimes when we connect we will find that a friend is struggling. It is important to remember that when this happens, sometimes all they need is someone to talk to and an ear to listen.
To prepare for difficult conversations, remember there is a range of resources and support available for you and the person you are helping throughout the entire holiday period.
Open Arms also provides free access to the LivingWorks Start program, a one hour online program that teaches participants how to recognise when someone is thinking about suicide and how to connect them to help and support.
Get started learning suicide prevention skills. In just one hour, learn a powerful four-step model to keep someone safe from suicide.
You can register online and then you will be sent email instructions to begin the training.
Serving and ex-serving personnel Veterans and their families have access to a range of support options from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and the Department of Defence over this Christmas and Holiday Period. Ex-Service Organisations (ESO) also provide a critical role in supporting our people and their families.
The past year has presented many challenges for our veteran community—leaving some feeling anxious and unsure about what the new year will bring.