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Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)

03 Jul 2014

Subject to the passage of legislation through Parliament, a number of new mental health initiatives will be introduced from 1 July 2014, to strengthen access to DVA’s mental health service system.  These initiatives will provide:

  • greater access to the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) for ex-serving members and their families. Newly eligible groups would include people with border protection service, service in a disaster zone either in Australia or overseas, service as a submariner, personnel involved in training accidents and members medically discharged. Access to VVCS counselling services will also be extended to their partners and dependant children;
  • greater access to existing arrangements whereby DVA will pay for mental health treatment for eligible veterans and peacetime members without the need to establish that their mental health condition is related to service.  Currently, these arrangements cover diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.  From 1 July 2014, DVA would also pay for treatment for diagnosed alcohol and substance use disorders, and an increased number of individuals with peacetime service will also become eligible; and
  • a new physical and mental health assessment for ex-serving personnel from their GP, to be funded under Medicare.  The assessment will help GPs diagnose and identify early any mental and physical health concerns and to treat or refer appropriately to other services.

Case Formulation Training Online

Many veterans suffer from more than one mental health issue, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, or alcohol abuse, and to help providers make better sense of complexity, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has released a new free online training program on the Case Formulation Approach. 

The Case Formulation online program assists providers to identify and focus on the presenting problems that are likely to have the most impact on recovery and help set priorities for treatment. Developed by the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, the program explains the case formulation approach, and gives practitioners the opportunity to hear from experts, watch demonstrations of case formulation, and then practice case formulation based on veteran case studies.

The program offers mental health professionals skills in:

  • Using a simple and practical model that considers presenting, predisposing, precipitating, prognostic and perpetuating factors;
  • Organising information gathered during assessment and identifying any further need for assessment
  • Developing hypotheses about factors that impact on a client’s distress and mental and physical health problems on a day-to-day basis, and using these to inform treatment planning;
  • Using a functional analysis technique to assist with assessment, case formulation and treatment planning; selecting treatment targets and evidence-based interventions and sequencing interventions for complex cases; and
  • Working collaboratively with clients on case formulation and treatment planning.

Case Formulation is free, interactive and engaging, and provides easy to use practical tools to assist with learning and adoption of case formulation, and additional resources to help their work with veterans. For further information on Case Formulation and other veteran mental health related education programs, please go to

Published: 03 Jul 2014