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New The Right Mix site supports veterans with alcohol use choices



The Right Mix Your Health & Alcohol website has been updated and enhanced to better support veterans and serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members manage their alcohol consumption.

The new look site focuses on motivating people to make changes to achieve a healthy balance between alcohol consumption, diet and exercise. The aim is to identify and acknowledge their current behaviours and alcohol behaviours; explain the potential consequences of risky drinking and provide strategies to help make informed decisions about reducing their level of alcohol consumption.

The Right Mix website offers a range of interactive tools to quickly measure how much alcohol is being consumed and compare this against low-risk drinking levels. People can also develop a self-management plan and create goals to minimise drinking. Data from the ON TRACK with The Right Mix mobile app can be downloaded to the self-management plan to provide an accurate measure of actual drinking behaviour against the person’s goals.

The Right Mix can be accessed through the DVA At Ease Portal via www.at-ease.dva.gov.au/therightmix 
The ON TRACK with The Right Mix app is free from the iOS App Store and Android Google Play.

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Competition to honour
Vietnam Vets

Secondary school students across Australia are encouraged to take part in a one-off competition to honour Australia’s Vietnam veterans.

The Honouring Australian Vietnam Veterans secondary school competition wants to see students in years 9 and 10 explore the service of Australia’s Vietnam veterans and to reflect on the importance of remembering their involvement in the conflict.

The Vietnam War saw some 60,000 servicemen and women deployed overseas, and more than 500 Australian lives lost, in the longest 20th century conflict in which Australia participated.

The competition is open until Friday, 8 April 2016.

Winning students will be invited to attend a three-day Canberra Commemorative Program in August 2016 where they will visit cultural institutions and attend the national commemorative event marking the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Further information, including entry details, the competition question, guidelines and FAQs is available at http://goo.gl/LHozxz

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VVCS helping veterans to sleep better

Sleep is important to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Problems with sleep are common in the Australian adult population, with many people reporting difficulty either getting to sleep or staying asleep.  

For Australia’s veterans and their families, dealing with the impact of combat and readjustment following deployments or separation from the military, can be highly stressful and, in some cases, may disrupt sleep patterns. 
 
The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) works with eligible members of the ADF, veteran and ex-service community, and their families as they learn tools and techniques to master sleeping better and improve their quality of life.
 
Like any health condition, the sooner help is sought, the more likely a quick return to normal sleep will occur.
 
Eligible members of the ADF, veteran and ex-service community, who may be dealing with sleep issues or are interested in learning more about supporting a veteran with sleep issues are encouraged to contact VVCS on 1800 011 046 to discuss support and counselling options available in the region.
 
For help or to check eligibility for VVCS services, call 1800 011 046 or visit www.vvcs.gov.au

Image courtesy of Australian Defence Image Library.

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Taking action to improve veterans' mental health

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Stuart Robert, marked Veterans’ Health Week by releasing two documents that clearly set out what the Department is doing to support ex-servicemen and women to improve their health, and improve connections with their communities.

The Social Health Strategy 2015-2023 for the Veteran and Ex-service Community addresses some of the particular health and wellbeing challenges that former Australian Defence Force members face after they transition into civilian life.

The Mental and Social Health Action Plan 2015 and 2016 sets out the actions the Department will undertake in the next two years to deliver both the Social Health Strategy and the previously released Veteran Mental Health Strategy 2013-2023.

The Department is already delivering on a number of the initiatives in the Action Plan, including expanded access to the VVCS counselling service (available 24/7 on 1800 011 046 or www.vvcs.gov.au), online mental health tools and smartphone apps to support younger veterans (www.at-ease.dva.gov.au), and online training and information resources to better support mental health professionals.
 
Veterans’ Health Week 2015 was marked over the past week by a record 225 events attended by over 17,000 veterans, war widows, widowers, current and ex-ADF members and their families and friends around Australia.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)

A free and confidential counselling service for Australian veterans, peacekeepers and their families. For more information on VVCS services and eligibility, please visit the VVCS website or phone 1800 011 046.

Veterans' Affairs e-News is a regular service provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Comments or feedback on Veterans' Affairs e-News may be sent to AMBENEWS@dva.gov.au

Department of Veterans' Affairs

GPO box 9998

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