First soldier trauma centre opens in Brisbane
Australia's first recovery centre to help
returning soldiers and their families deal with the trauma of war
has opened in Brisbane.
Up to 65,000 Australian military personnel have been deployed in
peacekeeping missions and combat operations since 1999.
Many have returned with physical disabilities, but many more -
an estimated 20 per cent - have returned with mental scars.
The 'Mates 4 Mates' centre, to be opened by General Peter
Cosgrove today, will offer psychological counselling, gyms and
adventure programs to help a new generation of veterans deal with
the trauma of war.
The centre is being opened by the Queensland RSL, and there
plans to open similar facilities in South Australia, Darwin and
The RSL estimates there are 1,200 veterans returning to
Australia every year who will need some form of psychological
Twenty-six-year-old Dwayne Anderson is just one.
He saw two of his mates blown away by an improvised explosive
device in Afghanistan.
"I was only four metres away from where the actual blast was,"
he told AM.
"Obviously when the blast happens you don't really see too much.
It just goes pretty much straight from daytime to night time.
"It's the moment afterwards when you're out and you see
everything, see the aftermath. It was pretty confronting, pretty
"The whole family noticed that there was a big change in my
personality and it took a couple of months after hearing this that
I sort of turned around and went 'right, now I've got to really
start figuring out how I'm going to progress without affecting
everyone around me'."
For Mr Anderson, and thousands of others like him, the really
hard battles - the personal battles - only start once their tours
of duty are over.
Often the recovery process has an impact not just on the
soldiers, but also their families and friends.
References and further information