In recognition of Brain Injury Australia’s awareness-raising and advocacy work with veterans who have sustained brain injury, including 2017’s national Brain Injury Awareness Week (see the Week’s “poster”, above) Executive Officer Nick Rushworth has been invited to join “Open Arms” – the Veterans and Families Counselling Neurocognitive Health Program Steering Committee. The Committee will provide independent guidance and advice during the development of the Counselling’s Neurocognitive Health Program. “Traumatic brain injury is referred to as the ‘signature injury’ of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” says Nick. “Over 300,000 United States Armed Forces veterans have sustained a ‘mild’ traumatic brain injury just since 2003’s Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health, 1 in every 10 Australian Defence Force personnel who have served in the Middle East ‘reported the criteria for a new mild traumatic brain injury’.”
The role of the Committee is to provide guidance to Veterans and Families Counselling on mental health matters relating to veterans (current and ex serving members), and their families. It will do this by: “providing guidance and advice on the content and delivery of focus group assessment and treatment service options, national and international expertise and research, service delivery options across regions and capital cities, quality standards and service delivery guidelines; provision of information and support services to family members impacted by veteran’s neurocognitive disorder; and by providing advice on the broad range of mental health and rehabilitation issues, related to the range of possible causes of neurocognitive disorders”.
Members of the committee have been invited “based on their interest, knowledge, experience or professional expertise in neurocognitive issues in the veteran community. The Director of Veterans and Families Counselling, Dr. Stephanie Hodson, “has requested that we seek the input of Brain Injury Australia…to provide specialised input along with others on the steering committee. The offer of membership is on the basis of knowledge and experience of the needs of individuals who may have a neurocognitive disorder, and their families…” More information about the Committee and its work will follow in future newsletters.