Book of Proceedings: Mates4Mates: A Holistic Mental Health Rehabilitation Service Approach for Veterans

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Authors: Sarah Lacey, Chris McHugh, Louise O’Sullivan and Janice Johnston, QLD

Year: 2014

Event: 2014 TheMHS Conference

Subject: book of proceedings 2014, veteran mental health rehabilitation, military service, ptsd, Australian defence force

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 978-0-9757653-9-5

Abstract: Comorbid presentation of mental illness, physical injury and social isolation is common in the Australian veteran community. Empirical research suggests that outcomes of the traditional approach to veteran mental health rehabilitation, whereby disorders are treated independently and on an individual basis, often produce suboptimal rehabilitation outcomes and fail to address confounding psychosocial issues such as isolation. Instead, mental health researchers and service providers alike are increasingly moving toward a multidisciplinary holistic approach to mental health treatment programs. A team of psychologists at Mates4Mates, an initiative of RSL (Queensland Branch), have applied contemporary research and developed a multifaceted group treatment and support program based on the principles of holistic treatment, positive psychology, psychoeducation, empowerment and camaraderie. The program provides concurrent psychological, psychosocial and physical rehabilitation; such that traditional psychological and physical therapies are paired with adventure challenges including trekking, sailing, kayaking and equine therapy. Patients have shown positive changes in mental health status and social behaviours as a result of their experiences in the Mates4Mates program, which have been largely attributed to mateship, camaraderie, support and sense of accomplishment obtained from the contemporary treatment and support program.

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