The Centenary of Anzac Centre, consisting of a Practitioner Support Service and a Treatment Research Collaboration, will improve the mental health outcomes of current and former Defence personnel. An initiative of Phoenix Australia, with funding from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Centenary of Anzac Centre was launched at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Dan Tehan MP on 15th September 2017.
The Anzac Centre is in the developmental stage, with the current focus being on preparing a solid foundation of governance protocols, project management and resourcing, in addition to the creation of suitable locations to house activities. Activities are expected to commence in early 2018.
The Expert Council
The Expert Council is an expert reference body to the Anzac Centre that will guide and provide strategic direction to the centre. The council comprises a world class team of experts in posttraumatic mental health (image above):
Professor David Forbes – Phoenix Australia, University of Melbourne
Professor Richard Bryant – University of NSW
Professor Mal Hopwood – University of Melbourne
Professor Alexander McFarlane – University of Adelaide
Professor Meaghan O’Donnell – Phoenix Australia, University of Melbourne
Dr John Cooper – Phoenix Australia, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Darryl Wade – Phoenix Australia, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Andrea Phelps – Phoenix Australia, University of Melbourne.
The first meeting of the Expert Council took place in November 2017.
Consultation Reference Group
The Consultation Reference Group is a group of stakeholders, partners, collaborators, and advisors who will be consulted about key issues pertaining to the Anzac Centre. Upon request, they will provide advice and feedback to the Practitioner Support Service and Treatment Research Collaboration to assist with community engagement and implementation.
Work is underway to create this 10 to 15 person group which will be drawn from sources such as DVA, ADF, specialist clinicians in trauma and veteran and military mental health, key professional colleges, VVCS, PTSD group programs, ex-service organisations, and participants and their partners with lived experience.
Treatment Research Collaboration
The Treatment Research Collaboration will undertake pioneering research into PTSD and other complex military related mental health issues. The aim of this research is to improve our understanding of PTSD and impairments to recovery, and to test innovative interventions.
Practitioner Support Service
The Practitioner Support Service will provide expert advice and consultation to guide practitioners and services around Australia who are supporting and treating veterans with mental health problems such as PTSD. The governance, management, infrastructure and administrative procedures required to establish and operate the Practitioner Support Service are currently under development.
We are planning extensive consultations in the early part of 2018 with a wide range of organisations and services providing treatment and support services to veterans with mental health problems. We are keen to hear about the issues that are a priority for those working in the field, to provide a briefing on the Anzac Centre, and to begin the process of establishing a veteran mental health ‘network’ with a focus on improved service collaboration and practice and testing improved treatments for veterans with mental health problems.
The Anzac Centre’s primary assessment and treatment facility has been established at the Royal Park campus of Royal Melbourne Hospital.
An office has been established in Canberra where Nicole Sadler, Senior Specialist, Military and High Risk Organisations is permanently located. This will facilitate liaison with key stakeholders of the Centenary of Anzac Centre.
In collaboration with the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs and VVCS, we are very pleased to announce that we are planning a two-day Practitioner Forum in Melbourne in July or August 2018 for practitioners working with military personnel and veterans with mental health problems. The forum will provide an opportunity to bring together key stakeholders in veteran mental health policy and practice with a focus on improved and integrated mental health treatment and care. More details of this event will be available in the New Year.