THE Veterans Support Centre Joondalup has opened in Heathridge, providing advocacy and welfare services to veterans and their families.
City of Joondalup RSL president Rick Green said the centre, based at the Heathridge Leisure Centre, would offer advocacy and welfare to all ex-service people, including non-RSL members.
“We also offer counselling for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said.
“We also offer financial support for those times you really need help or just a place to come and have a friendly chat with like-minded people.”
Mr Green said the centre would arrange to visit aged care facilities and to hospitals to catch up with residents and patients.
It will provide referrals to emergency relief and mental health service providers, advocate for veterans dealing with organisations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and the Defence Force Ombudsman, and provide a 24/7 mobile phone support service.
“The purpose of Veterans Support Centre Joondalup is to enhance the lives of all veterans and their dependents,” centre coordinator Ken Bevan said.
“’This is veterans assisting all veterans.”
Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton officially opened the centre on September 28, highlighting DVA figures that showed the suicide rate amongst ex-servicemen was about 14 per cent higher than the national average between 2002 and 2015.
Figures also indicated that one in 20 homeless Australians served in the Australian Defence Force, with unemployment among veterans five times the national average.
“The statistics are significant and confronting,” Ms Hamilton said said.
“If this centre can make a difference in the life of even one person, then it has been a success.”
In the City of Joondalup, the DVA has 2042 clients, while the City of Wanneroo is home to 1789.
The Veterans Support Centre Joondalup on 16 Sail Terrace in Heathridge will be open on Tuesdays from 11am to 4pm and on Thursdays from 1pm to 6pm.
- Lucy Jarvis
Rick Green and Ken Bevan from Joondalup City RSL Sub-Branch. Photo: Martin Kennealey