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Defence leads the way on mental health research
24 October 2011

Senior Leaders and Independent Experts L to R CDF Gen David Hurley MINDSP Warren Snowden, Prof Ian Hickie and MAJ General Paul Alexander The Minister for Defence, Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon,  released the key findings of the 2010 ADF Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study and launched the 2011 ADF Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
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2010 Australian Defence Force Mental Health and Wellbeing Prevalence Study–key findings

One of Australia's leading mental health experts has hailed Defence as a world leader on mental health issues.

Executive Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute, Professor Ian Hickie, described the Australian Defence Force Mental Health and Wellbeing Prevalence Study as world best practice.

Professor Hickie told the Australian Military Medicine Conference in Melbourne that Defence will set the national standard for mental health reform.

"Defence, through its leadership, through its medical research, is serious about addressing these issues and has chosen gutsy, smart, collective and informed strategies to this major challenge.

"Where they have really emphasised prevention, early intervention, use of e-health strategies, easy access to care, peer and family support and most importantly collective action, they are world leading," Professor Hickie said.

The Minister for Defence, Science and Personnel released the key findings of the study and launched the 2011 ADF Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy on 21 October.

"The study is the first comprehensive assessment of the overall mental health of the ADF's serving population," Mr Snowdon said.

Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley said the research shows existing mental health programs are working, but the ADF would always strive to do better.

"The study highlights some areas where we need to focus our attention, but overall, it shows there is very little difference between the mental health prevalence of people who have deployed on operations and those who have never been deployed.

"Research findings will be applied to current ADF policy and programs required to meet the future needs of serving ADF members after their military service ends," General Hurley said.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy will provide a blueprint for the 2012-2015 Mental Health Action Plan.