What to expect

Open Arms specialises in providing free face-to-face and/or tele-health counselling, group programs and peer support. We are committed to your privacy and confidentiality

Step 1

Call 1800 011 046

Help is available 24 hours a day.

  • We are here to listen to you and explore how we can best assist you.
  • Counsellors are available to support you if you are feeling angry, upset, anxious, depressed or having thoughts of self-harm.

We have counselling and peer teams in major city centres and outreach counsellors that service all of Australia. Tele-health was introduced as a pandemic response, and now provides you with flexibility to access our services.

Step 2

Undertake an intake interview so we can better understand your needs

The intake assessment identifies the most appropriate mental health and wellbeing services to meet your needs.

A counsellor will ask you a number of questions, including why you would like assistance and how our service can meet your needs. This usually takes 20-30 minutes. This process is similar to accessing any mental health service. As a veteran and family service, the counsellor will check your eligibility to access Open Arms.

Step 3

Referral to specialist services

At the end of the intake interview, we will discuss referral options.This could be for booking into the next available Open Arms group program, an Open Arms peer, or a counsellor. If referred for counselling, you will be advised as soon as possible what tele-health or face-to-face options are available in your area and the timeframe for an appointment. We may also refer you to specialist services or treatment programs provided by other organisations.

We understand that your situation is unique to you and some issues are more difficult than others. Our clinical case management service assists when there are multiple issues and complexity impacting your mental health and wellbeing.

Step 4

Attend counselling, group program or training course

Your counsellor may be located in our Open Arms offices, or they could be one of our community-based outreach counsellors.

Group programs and training courses are facilitated by counsellors and peers.


Counselling is working with the help of a trained health professional to improve personal, social or psychological problems or difficulties.

Open Arms counsellors are psychologists, social workers, mental health occupational therapists and mental health nurses. Our community-based outreach counsellors are psychologists and social workers.

The counsellor helps you to resolve your problems in a positive way by helping you to clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness. Counselling is usually a short-term treatment for a specific problem.

Open Arms offers face-to-face, telephone and online counselling.

All our counselling is arranged by calling 1800 011 046.

Use the button below to attend your scheduled Open Arms online counselling session.

Attend scheduled session 


Your confidentiality and privacy are extremely important to us.

Open Arms is a counselling service administered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA). We won't share your information with other government agencies or external parties without your consent. Current serving member information is not shared with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) without your consent.  For quality improvement purposes, clinical governance staff undertake clinical audits of your files. This is explained in the consent forms you will be asked to sign.

In the event of submitting a complaint regarding your service with Open Arms, or requesting your client file, the relevant departmental teams will undertake these activities.

Your information is only shared under exceptional circumstances such as where your safety or the safety of others is at serious risk, or in accordance with the law

You are encouraged to share your information with a General Practitioner, any other person involved in your treatment and care including a family member or close support.

Call us

To find out how Open Arms can help you, call 1800 011 046.

See also

  • call us 1800 011 046


    Open Arms can provide individual, couple and family counselling to help improve your resilience, as well as enhance your mental health and wellbeing. Call 1800-011-046 for free and confidential 24/7 support.
  • ex serviceman and family


    If you have served in the ADF, you, your partner and your children can access support through Open Arms.
  • confidential

    Confidentiality and privacy

    Open Arms offers free and confidential counselling, and in some circumstances working with the DVA or ADF.