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Veterans and first responder families and help seeking

A mixed-methods research study investigating how families can be better supported to improve help seeking for veterans and emergency service first responders with current or emerging mental health needs.

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Families play a critical role in supporting the wellbeing of veterans and first responders.

Yet families often feel disconnected from the Defence Force, DVA or emergency agencies might be providing. This study utilised data from three national studies of veterans, first responders and families together with additional interviews with 23 family members to better understand how families can be supported to improve help seeking for veterans and emergency service first responders with current or emerging mental health needs.

The specific aim of the study was to understand the role of families in supporting early help-seeking among those with emerging mental health issues.

Our specific objectives were to explore:

1. How families can be better supported to recognise symptoms of mental health problems?

2. What family members can do next if someone has a problem?

3. How organisations can better support families themselves?

4. Do families feel included as primary supports within the organisational response to mental health concerns? What works and what could be improved?

5. How do families feel existing structures within organisations, programs and services (eg. peer support, resilience training, group programs, online resources) recognise and support the family of those with mental health concerns? What works and what could be improved?

For further information please contact Sharon Lawn: [email protected]

  • Team/Investigators

    Professor Sharon Lawn (Flinders University), Dr David Lawrence (The University of Western Australia), Associate Professor Miranda Van Hooff (Military and Emergency Services and Health Australia (MESHA)), Dr Galina Daraganova (Australian Institute of Family Studies AIFS), Dr Louise Roberts (Flinders University), Wavne Rikkers (The University of Western Australia), Dr Elaine Waddell (Flinders University)

  • Funding Body

    MESHA (formally The Road Home) – Colonel Susan Neuhaus (CSC) (Ret’d) Fellowship

  • Year Commenced

    December 2019

  • Expected Completion Date

    September 2021

  • Contribution

    Investigator (Associate Professor Miranda Van Hooff), Funder (MESHA)

  • MeSH Terms

    veteran, military, emergency service, first responder, family, help-seeking, support

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