Parents of veterans

No matter how old your kids are, you never stop caring. This page provides resources for parents of those in the serving and ex-serving community, and steps you can take to support your son or daughter.

Access to Open Arms services

All family members and interested community members can access the self-help tools and resources available on this website. You can also call us on 1800 011 046 to find out what other services we can offer you or your son or daughter, 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 parent of someone who has served can be difficult at times. If you’re finding it hard, you’re not alone. Many parents report feeling:

  • worried about their son or daughter and grandchildren
  • 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 son or daughter’s life
  • overwhelmed by the responsibility they feel towards their son or daughter
  • angry about what their son or daughter has gone through
  • frustrated by their son or daughter’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 Families of Australia and Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS), formerly the Defence Community Organisation (DCO).
  • Defence Families Australia provides information, advocacy and advice to Defence families.
  • Services for families of serving members are available through Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS), formerly known as the Defence Community Organisation (DCO), including a family resilience program FamilySMART and the 24-hour Defence Family Helpline (call 1800 624 608).

Make sure you look after yourself

Often those in a caring role place their own health last. 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.

See also