Home' Army News : June 24th 2010 Contents If you've had a first hand experience with the DFDA or
complaints process, here's your chance to tell us about it.
Our aim is to make sure you have confidence that the military justice system will deliver
unbiased, timely and fair outcomes and to improve any areas where necessary.
Personal experience with the system is the only requirement. You can have your say by
Your comments will be non-attributable.
Australian Defence Force
PROMOTING MILITARY JUSTICE
A NEW book, Anzac
and the Aftermath of War
chronicles the aftermath
of overseas service for
returned soldiers, from
Gallipoli to the present
day. With a central mes-
sage that the effects of
war can last long after
the shelling stops, chap-
ter topics include the
rise of the Red Cross
and RSL, POW com-
pensation, the effect of
war on the sexuality of
the nation, and recent
debate over excavation
of war graves. The book,
edited by Martin Crotty
and Marina Larsson, also
includes chapters from
members of psychol-
ogy corps on the unique
challenges faced by
serving members. Anzac
Legacies is available
in selected bookshops
or through Australian
Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder is an
ever-evolving process, Barry Rollings reports.
Army June 24, 2010
ONLY in recent times have the
medical and military worlds
begun to fully understand the
complexities and nuances of
combat stress conditions such as post-
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), says
Lavarack Barracks' senior psychologist
Maj Damien Hadfield.
Maj Hadfield was a contributor to the
book Anzac Legacies: Australia and The
Aftermath of War launched at Melbourne's
Shrine of Remembrance on April 14.
Col Peter Murphy, the recently retired
Director of ADF Psychology, also con-
tributed a chapter to the book.
"The term PTSD was introduced in the
1980s -- before that it was known as shell
shock or battle fatigue -- and although we
have known about it for a long time, it
is only in recent years that we have real-
ly begun to understand the mechanisms
behind it," Maj Hadfield said.
His contribution to the book deals with
the fact the stress today's soldiers face is
different to that of their predecessors.
"In World War I you knew better where
the enemy was, and at night, shelling
would probably decrease. In Afghanistan
or Vietnam you do not -- or didn't -- know
who or where the enemy was. The arousal
level is more sustained and that, in a way,
is more stressful," he said.
He and Col Murphy write in the book
about the influence of the original Anzacs.
"In a way they had built the reputation of
the nation. That left a big mark on mod-
ern soldiers who feel they need to live up
to that reputation," he said.
"Modern capability makes it harder
for them to live up to that image. The
'larrikin digger' image can be hard to rec-
oncile with the professional soldier image
He said modern communications
today were good in that they allowed con-
tact with loved ones back home. However,
this could also bring home-life stressors
into the battlefield, which wouldn't have
happened on the same scale before. Maj
Hadfield said the ADF was doing exten-
sive work with the Australian Centre for
Post Traumatic Mental Health in regard to
"Often PTSD might result from a one-
off discrete event on the battlefield, or it
could be from continuous exposure. So
how you treat it is different and the ADF
is developing specialised treatment pro-
grams," he said.
"Looking at the three phases -- pre-
deployment, deployment and post-deploy-
ment -- Col Murphy has reviewed many
studies and drawn conclusions from that.
"The post-deployment phase is most
important and Joint Health Command,
through the ADF Mental Health Strategy,
is investing a lot to see we get that right."
He said only a small percentage of
troops returning from deployments expe-
rienced PTSD. "Many others have grown
from the experience, but others might
have more problems with relationships
on their return, or with issues that already
existed before departure," he said.
"A good homecoming rests with good
communications with your partner back
home that sets you up best for a success-
ful transition when you return."
Acknowledging that mental health
concerns such as PTSD no longer car-
ried the stigma it once did, Maj Hadfield
had sound advice for those who thought
they might need help. "We draw an anal-
ogy between a psychological injury and a
physical injury. If you have a broken leg
and let if fester, it will get worse. Seek
treatment and it will mend," he said.
"The earlier the intervention the soon-
er you'll be back up and walking. It's
the same with the psychological concern.
And we do this with the expectation that
we will get people back up and serving
The Directorate for Mental Health can be found at
all-hours support line is available for ADF mem-
bers and families seeking help, 1800 628 036.
Out of the shadows
Breaking the silence: Don't be afraid to ask for help if you think you need it.
Links Archive June 10th 2010 July 8th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page