Supporting young veterans transition into civilian life

Local veterans are making the most of the transitional support offered through the ‘Joining Forces’ program, aimed to support young veterans transition back into civilian life.

The ‘Joining Forces’ program is delivered in collaboration with the Ballarat RSL, enabling veterans with diverse support service opportunities and assisting both the veterans and their families integrate back into their lives and their communities.

Offering the support role to veterans is ex-serviceman Ben Brooks, who served in the Australian Army for 8 years and was medically discharged in 2009. Ben explains the importance of the program and his role to the veterans as an ex-serviceman,

“These ex-service personnel have been trained to be the protectors and the providers, therefore they can find it hard to open up to those closest to them, who they feel it’s their duty to protect. The advantage of myself being a fellow ex-serviceman, has allowed the opportunity for people within the program to have a relatable outlet, someone with no judgement, expectations or emotional connection”.

The program has opened various opportunities for those involved, including engaging with the community, navigating local support services and providing further education opportunities.

“We have had great response to the program so far. The participants have appreciated having the support, even for something as simple as catching up and having a conversation, having someone to talk too and act as a sounding board has been appreciated” said Ben.

Activities focusing on mental and physical health have been planned for later in the year, aiming to connect the local ex-service community.

“Connecting the younger veteran’s community through peer activities is a way for ‘Joining Forces’ participants to meet and debrief with each other, whilst encouraging them to take care of their physical and mental wellbeing” said Ben.

‘Joining Forces’ covers the Central Highlands area including the City of Ballarat, Moorabool Shire, Hepburn Shire, Golden Plains Shire, Pyrenees Shire and Ararat Rural City.

To find out more information about the ‘Joining Forces’ program please contact Centacare on 03 5327 7900.