Veterans’ mental health programs launched at Caloundra Private Clinic
Apr 19, 2021
Two new group therapy programs, designed specifically for veterans, have been launched at Caloundra Private Clinic on the Sunshine Coast.
The programs are designed to help ex-servicemen and women who may be struggling with anxiety and mood disorders, by identifying early warning signs, stressors and other symptoms.
Approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the programs invite participants to attend Caloundra Private Clinic each Wednesday to engage in group therapy discussions with other veterans.
Psychologist Jenny Melrose said the two programs have been developed with the aim of meeting the specific needs of veterans.
“I think veterans have a different world view once they’ve been in the military and sometimes general mental health programs aren’t specific enough for their needs,” Ms Melrose said.
“I think it’s pretty challenging to adapt back into civilian life and it can be hard for servicemen and women to communicate with civilians who’ve never been part of that experience. But here, they know they’re not alone and can open up with other people who understand what they’ve been through.”
56-year-old Brett Groves served in the Australia Army for eight years as an engineer. He’s been attending the veteran-specific group sessions with his assistance dog Charlie.
“Meeting the other vets has been really good. You hear their stories and it might be something you’ve never thought about but you realise, yeah, that’s my experience too, and you can empathise with what they’re feeling,” Mr Groves said.
“Coming out of the military you’ve still got the training ingrained in you - the work ethics and expectations, where you had to jump at every command, you didn’t have a choice. Civilian life just doesn’t work that way.”
The mood disorder program aims to help veterans communicate more effectively, problem-solve, learn anger management skills, implement exposure therapy and grounding techniques and increase positive connections with family and friends.
The mood disorder program runs for 10 weeks while the anxiety program is held over a 12 week period.
Anyone wanting to attend the veteran-specific programs needs to first see their GP for a referral to a Caloundra Private Clinic psychiatrist. They can then be enrolled in the course and fees are covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.