State and Territory Ministers provided initial feedback on the draft of the Commonwealth’s new Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan to improve veteran mental health and wellbeing and reduce suicide.
At the meeting in Canberra, Chair of the Council, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester, provided an update on the development of the Strategy and National Action Plan and the consultations that have taken place so far.
During the meeting, State and Territory Ministers discussed the draft document in detail and put forward their views on how it could be improved.
The Council also resolved to support the Commonwealth progressing the Strategy and National Action Plan for finalisation, noting the feedback and changes recommended at the meeting.
The draft document has been in development since June when Minister Chester convened a national Summit, bringing together experts from around Australia to plan the best way forward.
The Summit identified four priority areas – health care, transition, partnerships and engagement, communication and education.
Over the past six months, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been consulting with veterans and their families, ex-service organisations, service providers and States and Territory Governments to inform the development of the Strategy and National Action Plan.
It is important that the Strategy and National Action Plan is designed by veterans and their families, for veterans and their families.
Commitment from the States and Territories to the Strategy and National Action Plan is also critical to ensure that the nation is best-placed to improve veteran mental health and wellbeing.
State and Territory Ministers agreed to provide some more detailed feedback on the Strategy and Action Plan as soon as possible. The Ministers also noted the importance of working closely with their other Ministerial colleagues in particular those with responsibility for health, mental health and wellbeing.
DVA will provide a final draft of the Strategy and Nation Action Plan to the Government before the end of the year.
The Veterans Ministerial Council provides an opportunity for ministers responsible for veterans issues from across Australia to come together to discuss how different levels of government can collaborate to support veterans and their families.