The Centenary of Anzac Centre, comprising a Practitioner Support Service and a Treatment Research Collaboration, is dedicated to excellence in the treatment of veteran mental health. The Anzac Centre is in the developmental stage. The Practitioner Support Service is expected to commence in the second half of the year.
Over the past three months, a great deal of work has been done to set the foundations for the Anzac Centre’s work.
Engagement and consultations
In order for the Anzac Centre to be truly representational, collaborative and responsive, we have been conducting consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, including research centres and institutions, clinical and treatment centres, health professional colleges and associations, the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, and ex-service organisations (ESOs).
These consultations have a number of distinct goals.
A Consultation Reference Group is being established which will include stakeholders, partners, collaborators, and advisers who will be consulted about key issues pertaining to the Anzac Centre -providing advice and feedback to assist with community engagement and implementation of the Anzac Centre’s initiatives.
Information is being gathered for the Treatment Research Collaboration about current veteran mental health intervention studies, and perceived research gaps and priorities for veterans’ mental health treatment. Consultations are being conducted with a range of stakeholders including practitioners, researchers, experts in military-related trauma, policy makers and ESOs. With this information, a treatment research agenda will be developed that engages practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and the veteran community across Australia.
The Practitioner Support Service team has been consulting with stakeholders to establish a veteran mental health network, and to understand the needs of practitioners and services. A multidisciplinary expert panel of veteran specialist clinicians is being assembled to provide support to practitioners who contact the service.
Laying the groundwork
The activities of the Practitioner Support Service will include a consultation service to support practitioners to use effective, proven treatments, and will provide advice and guidance on the treatment of complex mental health problems in veterans. An outreach service to rural and regional Australia is also planned. Significant infrastructure and planning is required to ensure that the service operates smoothly and efficiently.
With the help of a specialist consultancy we have commenced development of an information management system to manage the information flow of the consultation service. A pilot of the service will be conducted within the Veterans and Veterans Counselling Service prior to the service fully launching from August 2018.
The Anzac Centre website is being further developed to house an extensive array of resources for both practitioners and researchers supporting veterans with mental health issues. The website will also be the ‘front-end’ of the Practitioner Support Service, providing a gateway to the consultation service, resources, discussion forums and webinars.
We are also developing an online interactive research map of all veteran mental health intervention research currently being conducted in Australia. This visual interactive tool will be hosted on the Anzac Centre website and will benefit researchers and practitioners by mapping current and future treatment research and facilitating communication and collaboration between researchers.
A marketing plan and an evaluation plan are being developed to ensure that practitioners, researchers and organisations around the country are able to benefit from the services provided by the Anzac Centre and that those services are effective.
Veteran and Military Mental Health – Innovations in Treatment is a forum for practitioners working with military personnel and veterans with mental health problems, to be held on 27th-28th July 2018 in Melbourne. It is a collaboration between the Anzac Centre and the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs and VVCS.
The first day of the forum comprises two master classes with international experts Professor Barbara Rothbaum and Professor Marylène Cloitre. This day is open to all professionals with an interest in veteran and military mental health, and the sponsors of the program have capped the registration fee at $200. Visit the Anzac Centre website for further details and to register online: www.anzaccentre.org.au/2018forum.
Attendance at Day 2 of the Practitioner Forum is reserved for invited DVA and Defence mental health practitioners and will offer a challenging learning program and opportunity to network with others in the field.