News World Riverina veterans suffering PTSD waiting years for assistance

Riverina veterans suffering PTSD waiting years for assistance

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There’s concern that young veterans in the region may have to wait years to get help for traumas related to former duties.

The Riverina spokesman for the Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association Mick James says a number of veterans have post traumatic stress disorder.

Mr James who previously worked in border protection and in East Timor held a meeting in Leeton last night, seeking to round up veterans who may need help.

Mr James says he wants to hold another meeting in Wagga Wagga next month to ensure faster assistance.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs have got a bit of a bottleneck happening at the moment,” he said.

“Veterans are sometimes waiting up to three years to have entitlements released to them.”

“So we provide assistance for these people.”

“At the moment the Riverina really doesn’t have a voice when it comes to young veterans and I’m hoping to change that.”

Mr James says post traumatic stress disorder is making life hard for many former military personnel.

He wants to hear from veterans of conflicts such as Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

Mr James says his aim is to have veterans help each other, but also ensure they can tap into the Association’s resources in seeking help.

“Post traumatic stress disorder has become a major problem with vets leaving the Defence Force,” he said.

“I’m currently drafting letters up at the moment to send to our state member Mr Piccoli and also Mr McCormack in federal parliament to see how we can combat this problem in the Riverina.”

The Association says former Defence personnel in the region are fighting poverty, because of the slow processing of payments by Defence.

“I’d really like to see the faster processing of claims through the Department of Veterans Affairs so soldiers aren’t doing it tough when they get out as far as financial assistance goes,” he said.

“Families are struggling when a soldier comes home and leaves the Defence Force.”

“And it leads to family breakdown and conflicts and so forth. We’ve got to make that transition as easy as possible.”