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August 29, 2013 www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS
CPL Nick Wiseman
TWO health studies focusing on the
health impacts of operational deploy-
ments were released by CDF GEN
David Hurley on August 8.
GEN Hurley said the results of the
studies showed that ADF members
who deployed to the MEAO were gen-
erally physically and mentally healthy.
"Our personnel are ordinary
Australians who are asked to deal
with extraordinary events but not eve-
ryone who has deployed will experi-
ence trauma," he said.
"These studies show that most
people will not develop mental health
concerns but we are better prepared
today to help those who do."
More than 14,000 veterans par-
ticipated in the MEAO Census Health
Study which collected data from ADF
personnel who deployed between
2001 to 2009 and included informa-
tion such as their deployment history,
health survey and deployment experi-
A further 1325 veterans participat-
ed in the MEAO Prospective Health
Study which examined the health
of ADF personnel before deploy-
ment and after returning home from
deployment to the MEAO between
June 2010 and June 2012. This study
sought to examine the onset of health
concerns related to deployment.
Commander Joint Health RADM
Robyn Walker said the study provided
a comprehensive and robust account
of the health of ADF personnel who
deployed to the MEAO.
Health studies released
"The studies highlight not all
deployed personnel will be exposed to
trauma and most of those will not go
on to develop mental health disorders,"
"However, ADF members repeat-
edly exposed to traumatic experiences
either at home or on deployment are
more likely to develop mental health
According to the Black Dog
Institute, one in five (20 per cent)
Australians aged 16-85 experience
a mental illness in any year with
the most common being depressive,
anxiety and substance-use disorders.
Meanwhile, the 2007 National Survey
of Mental Health and Wellbeing found
6.4 per cent of Australians aged 16-85
years were suffering PTSD.
The MEAO Prospective Health
Study found 0.1 per cent of partici-
pants at pre-deployment and 1.9 per
cent at post-deployment reported
symptoms which were consistent with
RADM Walker said the results of
the studies revealed responses that
compared favourably with similar
studies conducted overseas.
"Specifically the prospective study
found that post deployment 4.8 per
cent of the participants reported symp-
toms consistent with psychological
distress," she said.
"Of the respondees, 1.9 per cent
reported symptoms consistent with
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
2.5 per cent reported symptoms with
an alcohol disorder and 1.6 per cent
reported suicidal ideation."
RADM Walker said the census
study confirmed that the prevalence
of PTSD symptoms was much higher
in ex-service members and those who
have been medically discharged as
most would expect.
"The results reiterate what we
have long recognised, that separation
and military commitments do have an
impact on ADF families," she said.
"But a range of support options are
still available to those families."
Both studies were voluntary and
part of the Military Health Outcomes
Program (MilHOP) which started in
2010 to determine the impact of oper-
ational deployment on the health and
wellbeing of members of the ADF.
GEN Hurley said the health and
wellbeing of Australia's military per-
sonnel was a priority.
"These studies will further inform
policy and targeted health programs
designed to support ADF members
and their families," he said.
"Defence and DVA will continue
to seek opportunities to improve and
evolve our support systems."
Copies of the studies are available at:
BETTER PREPARED: CDF GEN David Hurley and Commander Joint Health RADM Robyn Walker answer
questions from the media at the launch of the health studies.
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