A new free and confidential telephone service in the Brisbane and Ipswich areas will help families and carers who are supporting veterans and former serving personnel with mental health issues.

The Veterans’ Families Helpline is a pilot phone-based advice and referral service being run by Relationships Australia and funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).

Relationships Australia Queensland CEO Shane Klintworth said it was often family members who sought information to support a veteran.

“It’s common for families or carers to see first hand the impact mental health issues can have on the well being of veterans,” Mr Klintworth said.

“Many veterans and former servicemen and women are reluctant to seek help so it falls to their family members or carers.”

“The Veterans’ Families Helpline provides families and carers with the right information and can link them to appropriate support services to best suit the needs of their veteran family member.”

DVA Queensland Deputy Commissioner Alison Stanley said the Australian Government was committed to supporting the needs of veterans and former serving members.

“There is a high concentration of veterans in the South East Queensland region which is why the project is being piloted here,” Ms Stanley said.

“The pilot helpline will provide valuable information to DVA about how we can better support families of veterans and former serving personnel with mental health issues.”

If you are a family member or carer of a veteran and you have concerns about their mental health, please call 1800 156 005.

For more information please visit www.veteransfamilieshelpline.org.au. For information about veterans’ mental health visitwww.at-ease.dva.gov.au.