DVA e-news: Take care of yourself this Anzac Day

Acknowledging the commitment, dedication and sacrifice of our servicemen and servicewomen through commemorations is a significant and important part of Australian culture.

Commemorative periods can be emotional. We may have feelings of pride in family and friends who served or continue to serve, grief for those we have lost, sadness for those who come home changed, and optimism that their service has made the world a better place.

For veterans and their families, especially those who are living with combat-related mental illness, commemorative periods may be confronting.

Self-care during these periods is particularly important. Being aware of possible triggers that cause you distress and taking a few extra steps to look after yourself during these times, can make a difference. If you have a smart phone, use an app like High Res or PTSD Coach to monitor how you are tracking each day. These are free self-management wellness apps available on the App Store or Google Play.

Participating in social activities associated with a commemoration can sometimes be a difficult thing to do. Having said that, these activities can also bring a great sense of reward, satisfaction and recognition. Validation and acknowledgement of past experiences can be both a rewarding and often healing experience.

If you think you may benefit from support during the upcoming Anzac Day commemorative period, try to reach out and talk to friends, connect with family, or seek support from a professional during this time. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.

The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) offers free and confidential counselling for war and service related mental health and wellbeing conditions.

For help, to learn more or to check eligibility for VVCS services, call 1800 011 046 or visit www.vvcs.gov.au

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