Letter to the Editor - Fairfax Media
24 April 2015
MR D. GOODSIR
Editor in Chief
Dear Mr Goodsir,
I am disappointed that Fairfax media has chosen to publish an erroneous op ed that fails to contribute to what should be a constructive discussion about military and veterans' mental health care.
Contrary to Sarah Gill's assertion, the Commander Joint Health, Rear Admiral Walker has never denied military service can contribute to mental health disorders including PTSD. Ill informed and what would appear to be poorly researched commentary such as this that seeks to perpetuate this falsehood is unfair and misleading. Rear Admiral Walker has worked tirelessly on improving mental health services within the ADF and she is leading efforts remove the stigma that still exists around the issue of mental health.
Defence has repeatedly stated that addressing mental health issues requires a sophisticated and mature debate. Unfortunately, articles and editorials such as Ms Gill's are counterproductive. The fact is we are very serious about confronting the ADF's mental health issues and contributing to efforts to improve mental health support to those who no longer serve in the ADF. Over the past six years, the ADF has put an enormous amount of effort into understanding, treating and preventing mental health conditions. As a result, we have some excellent programs in place to assist those people who are dealing with PTSD or other mental health conditions. False claims that Defence simply does not care or that more is being spent on Anzac Centenary commemorations than mental health care for our veterans do nothing to help further the debate - they undermine the confidence of those who deserve our help and support.
R.J. GRIGGS, AO, CSC
Acting Chief of the Defence Force