Wellbeing and family for service categories 6-7

Health and wellbeing support

The health and wellbeing of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their family is a priority for Defence.

Defence aims to keep members and families healthy throughout all phases of their career, and provides access to a range of wellbeing programs and resources to support this, including:

  • Garrison health centres.
  • Fitness and nutrition resources to support a fit and healthy life.
  • ADF Family Health Program supports members and families to maintain a healthy lifestyle and access affordable healthcare. The program pays an amount towards the treatment of many medical and preventative services for members' families. This may include access to GPs, specialists and allied health practitioners. From 1 July 2023, the allowance per dependent was doubled to $800 and reimbursable services were further expanded.
  • ADF Mental Health Online provides information and links to online resources for members and their families about mental health, resilience and wellbeing.
  • ADF Suicide Prevention Program provides suicide prevention awareness, alertness and training coordinated through regional mental health teams.
  • ADF Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills Program is a 4 week residential program that helps build confidence and resilience in people who are experiencing health and wellbeing challenges related to service in the ADF, ACT Emergency Services and the AFP.
  • Crisis support offers practical assistance and emotional support available to members and their families in times of illness, injury, domestic crisis and bereavement.
  • Employee Assistance Program offers confidential, free of charge counselling support to members and their immediate families.
  • CancerAid is a voluntary and confidential targeted support program for those living with cancer and those supporting others living with cancer, whether a loved one or colleague.
  • Chaplaincy services provide pastoral, spiritual and religious care as required to members and their families. They also have a 24/7 regional on-call service available by calling 1300 333 362.
  • Open Arms provides mental health assessments and counselling for veterans and their families. Information and resources are available for current, former and transitioning members as well as for families including partners, children, siblings and parents, and carers and employers.
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs offers access to a range of different services to current and former members and their families. This includes health care, rehabilitation, mental health services, and, pension and specific support payments.
  • The Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) provides immediate and confidential support, information, and advice to all current and ex-serving members and their families who have been impacted by sexual misconduct. 1800 SeMPRO is available 24/7.

Lifestyle benefits

Defence offers a range of lifestyle benefits, including access to flexible work arrangements, work hours, patterns and locations to enable managing work and personal commitments. Members also have access to paid time off to manage caring responsibilities, and access to childcare support.

Private travel discounts

Members may be able to access discounted prices for private travel, airline lounge access or car hire through whole of government suppliers. Discounts on everyday activities and expenses may also be available as a recognition for service.

​Loans and hardship grants

During tough times members may be able to access a loan or hardship grant to help get back on track through the relevant service relief trusts.

​Sport and fitness

Many ADF roles require a reasonable level of fitness. Defence provides the time to exercise and free access to Defence sport and fitness facilities to make regular exercise a part of a normal routine.

Members have the opportunity to join ADF sport programs and participate in activities such as sailing, skiing and everything in between. Eligible members can join programs for conventional and adaptive sports, and adventurous sports, both domestically and internationally. MyBase in ServiceConnect holds more information about what is happening on a specific base, including sport and gym access.

Family programs and services

Defence has a range of support programs available to help balance the demands of life in the ADF with the needs of members' families. Defence understands that the military way of life has an impact on family members and community. The family, children and community programs are targeted at improving the experience and community connections of those who become a part of Defence, wherever they may be based.

For members' families there are a range of programs providing support and strategies to manage the military way of life, including:

  • Partner Employment Assistance Program provides support and funding for eligible partners for initiatives aimed at improving employability.
  • Families with special needs page provides information about education and relocation support available to members with recognised dependants with special needs.
  • SMART Resilience Programs help Defence families identify and build on their strengths, learn coping techniques and become more resilient, positive and self-reliant.
  • Family financial advice provides information on matters than might impact the financial status of members and their families.
  • Defence Families of Australia is the official advisory body to the Minister for Defence Personnel and Chief of the Defence Force. The organisation sits outside of Defence systems, allowing independence and impartiality to act in the best interests of members and families.

Support for children includes:

  • Childcare support options are available for families including individual case management, self-search and Defence supported childcare centres.
  • Changing schools information is available for members and their families, including a checklist, and links to accessing Education Liaison Officer support.
  • Education assistance in the form of financial support is available to help minimise the disruption to education caused by posting.
  • Defence School Mentor Program is delivered in partnership with schools to support the wellbeing of children of members. It connects children with their school community and enhances the school’s ability to address the impact of the military lifestyle.
  • ADF Equip Program is designed to help children manage the challenges associated with Defence life. It supports children to learn age appropriate strategies that help them to better manage the challenges associated with service related parental absence and relocation.
  • ADF Aware Program assists school staff to better understand the unique needs of children from ADF families in order to support them.
  • Kookaburra Kids Foundation runs a specific Defence kids program dedicated to supporting children aged 8-18 who are living in current and ex-serving Defence families impacted by mental illness.

Community programs

Defence community programs help members and families seeking to connect with or contribute to their local community. Defence also supports local organisations to deliver programs focused on connecting Defence families in their community, including local clubs, social groups, organisations, choirs or interest groups in posting area that the members and families can join.

  • Community groups and centres all across Australia are available to members and families.
  • Events run by Defence area offices, community organisations or local authorities are a great way to expand support networks and get out into the community.
  • Community Support Coordination Program provides funding to enable the employment of a Community Support Coordinator within an organisation.
  • Family Support Funding Program offers not-for-profit-community organisations the chance to apply for grants to deliver support and services for Defence communities.