From our experience, a significant factor associated with mental health deterioration and increased risk of suicide ideation in veterans is social isolation. Military culture is entirely focused on the team (or the group) above the individual – military personnel are immersed in a life of mutual support and emotional connection. Coming out of a tightly-knit social unit, veterans often experience a sense of disconnection & isolation in civilian life and a distinct lack of community. This shift is often very troubling for many as their life suddenly has far less collective meaning, particularly if they are also struggling with a physical or psychological service-related injury. This disconnect or loss of the ‘social village’ or ‘tribe’ can manifest itself in prolonged and intense pain, loneliness, perceived burdensomeness, self-loathing and hopelessness. This is why Mates4Mates provide opportunities for veterans to access new ‘social villages’ or ‘tribes’ through various social connection activities. While on the surface they are simple activities, they are actually fostering exceptionally important supportive community relationships for veterans – opportunities for veterans (and their families) to feel connected again to people from their ‘village’ or ‘tribe’ – opportunities for them to regain a sense of belonging and understanding among their peers.
This webinar took place 2 PM AEST, 4 September 2019
More about the presenters
After sustaining a physical injury in the ADF and being medically discharged, Marc moved into the world of construction and business management. After going through a period of physical rehabilitation and recovery process, happened upon the Services of Mates4Mates. Marc has been working with Mates4Mates for over 3 years.
Rhys enlisted with the Australian Defence Force in 2009 and was posted to 6RAR. He was medically discharged in late 2014. After a couple of years of different employment and study, Rhys was offered a position as a Liaison Officer at Mates4Mates. For over 2 years now he has been providing support and Social Connection activities to the Ex/current serving members of the Defence Force members who, due to their service are injured or ill as well as their families.