Brothers and sisters

The sibling bond is often strong. This page provides resources for siblings of serving and ex-serving ADF members, and some steps you can take to support your brother or sister.

Access to Open Arms services

All family members and interested community members can access the self-help tools and resources available on this website. As a sibling of an ADF member, you can also call us on 1800 011 046 to find out what other services we can offer you or your sibling, including access to mental health training.

Where there has been a death of a service person, parents and siblings may be able to access our free and confidential counselling services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Eligibility

When a different person comes home

Being a sibling of someone who has served can be difficult at times. If you’re finding it hard, you’re not alone.

Many brothers and sisters report feeling:

  • worried about their sibling and family
  • helpless to fix things and uncertain where to get help
  • unsure of their role, whether they should intervene, or what they can do to help
  • shut out of their brother or sister’s life
  • worried about their parents
  • angry about what their brother or sister has gone through
  • frustrated by their brother or sister’s behaviour.

There are a range of resources and support services available that can assist in beginning to address these feelings.

Where can I go if I need help?

There are a range of services available to assist families. You can contact these services directly if you are seeking advice.

  • Relationships Australia offers a broad range of services to individuals, families and communities across the country such as counselling, mediation, and family dispute resolution. Contact your state-based Relationships Australia service on 1300 364 277.
  • ForceNet provides a secure means for Defence families to access authoritative information on Defence matters. ForceNet also connects family users with the service related to their sponsoring Defence member - such as Defence Community Organisation and Defence Families of Australia.
  • Defence Families Australia provides information, advocacy and advice to Defence families.
  • Services for families of serving members are available through Defence Community Organisation (DCO), including a family resilience program Family SMART and the 24-hour Defence Family Helpline (call 1800 624 608).

Make sure you look after yourself

There are many resources that have been developed for military families.

  • The living well section of Open Arms outlines a range of tips to help you stay on top of your physical health, and keep you socially connected.
  • Our Self-help tools and the High Res app are designed to support current or ex-serving ADF members, their families and friends to build psychological resilience and mental fitness.

Contact us

To find out how we can help you or your sibling, call Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

See also

  • Reconnecting after deployment

    Reconnecting after deployment or absence

    Life in the military can include time apart from family and friends due to deployment, training or commitments such as Reserve duties. Serving members might experience living in different locations and having new experiences, some of which can be exciting but may also be difficult, or even traumatic.
  • two men running

    Living well

    A range of services are available to the current and ex-serving community and their families to stay healthy.
  • men shaking hands

    Suicide intervention and mental health literacy workshops

    Open Arms offers free training opportunities to those seeking to help family, friends, co-workers or others in the veteran community.