The operational tempo of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) over the last 20 years has delivered a new cohort of veterans that are, in real terms, a generation apart from the Vietnam veterans.
When it comes to physical and mental health and social requirements of these veterans there will be similarities to their predecessors, but given the generational contrast it is reasonable to expect that there would be some differences.
Other than age, some of the factors that cause these differences are likely to be the changing nature of warfare, realism in training events and that there may be more women veterans than would have been the case in previous generations.
The We're Here Initiative, a not-for-profit enterprise aimed at attracting those separating from the ADF to settle in the Nambucca Valley, is interested in getting younger veterans starting the conversation with each other and is sponsoring opportunities for them to get together over a great cup of coffee in Nambucca Heads.
Where to meet for a coffee
On Saturdays February 15th, 22nd and 29th and March 7th between 11am and 1pm, young veterans, and their partners, can drop into Good Time Charlies Cafe at 1/22 Bowra Street, Nambucca Heads for a coffee and 'We're Here' will pick up the tab.
No pressure, no expectations.... Even if life is sweet, you may be able to help a mate having a rough time...Mick Birtles
A veterans issue that currently has the broader community concerned is that of young veterans suicide.
Despite the resources poured into veterans support from both the Government and charity sector, there are indications that the suicide rate of male veterans under 30 could be double the national rate (figures for female veterans are not clear).
This is perplexing when it is known that an individual must be at a high level of physical and mental fitness to join the ADF.
This would point to failings in the way we manage our men and women when the are separating from the ADF and even bigger failings in the management of veterans health once an individual returns to civilian life.
There are no hard figures on just how many ADF veterans there are in Australia however national health surveys point to the figure being somewhere above 700,000 with over half of them under the age of 65.
It is known that most younger veterans, for any number of reasons, do not reach out to veterans support organisation and often do not know where to turn for help when they are faced with physical and mental health issues as a result of their service.
Often it is just starting a conversation with other veterans that can lead them on the road to recovery and even assist with managing issues before problems worsen.
The We're Here volunteers say if this helps to get young veterans interacting with each other then they would be interested in expanding the program and even repeating the coffee shouts elsewhere in the valley.
These initial Saturdays at Good Time Charlies will be generously funded by the Nambucca Heads RSL Womens Auxiliary.
No pressure, no expectations on you, just come on down to Good Time Charlies for a coffee and perhaps a chat.
Even if life is sweet, you may be able to help a mate having a rough time so come on down for a coffee.
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