When asked how he would describe the transition Andrew said, “I wouldn’t say it has been easy. It is a challenge, civilian life and employment is different. Having an exit strategy is hugely important.”
Andrew’s mental health journey has taken many twists and turns as he battled with post operation adjustment, depression, personal injuries and his own transition out of Defence.
He is now helping others with their transition journey, working as a Community & Peer Advisor at Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling. Andrew takes great pride in being there at the start when the Community & Peer Advisor Program was being set up, which has now grown to 46 peers in all states and territories.
In this role he is particularly focused on providing support to veterans and families by listening, providing guidance and mentoring. Andrew says, “I now have the absolute privilege of helping my fellow service men & women, their families and our great network of peer advisors to connect, educate and support our veteran community.”
For those transitioning from the Defence force, Andrew is a wealth of knowledge. He says, “just because we no longer wear a uniform doesn’t mean our skills are lost. You will be surprised how useful leadership, problem solving and adaptability can be in civilian employment. Stay “flexible” and enjoy some of the freedoms civilian life has to offer.” But most importantly, have a plan and be brave enough to seek support if you need help.