The Wattle League Foundation continues to go from strength to strength, with so much progress and collaboration taking place on the Foundation’s first project – Wattle House.
Once established, Wattle House will provide access to a comprehensive therapeutic and peer support program for ADF service men and women (current and veterans) that includes both group activities and individual support. Case Management will facilitate linkages to specific in- house and external programs that include, but are not limited to:
- Psychological support
- Budgeting and Financial Management
- Activities of daily living - Grocery shopping, Menu Planning and cooking skills
- Maintenance of Physical Health and fitness with a gymnasium on site
- Social skills
- Relationship guidance
- Managing substance abuse
- Vocational guidance, training and education
- Planning engagement in leisure activities and developing hobbies
National Review of the services available to veterans and members of the ADF
On 11 August 2016, the Prime Minister announced a review of the services available to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in relation to the prevention of self-harm and suicide. This Review was undertaken by the National Mental Health Commission and the final report was presented to the Prime Minister on 28 March this year.
The Wattle League Foundation, Open Minds’ philanthropic arm, provided a significant and considered submission to the Review. Our submission was developed in partnership with leading clinicians and practitioners in their fields, all integral in the scoping work relating to Wattle House, and its step up, step down supports for ADF veterans experiencing mental ill health due to their service to country.
The Government is considering the Review recommendations and determining future actions to strengthen efforts to prevent suicide and self-harm amongst current and former serving members of the ADF.
A response to the Review will be released by 30 June 2017.
Wattle House Model of Service Workshop
The 9th of February 2017 saw an impressive group come together at Open Minds Head Office with a shared goal to develop a model of service that will be provided to ADF veterans during their stay at Wattle House.
We were joined by veterans Sean Mulqueen and Tom Williams, physicians, clinicians and individuals from Ex-Service Organisations working with veterans on a daily basis.
Sean and Tom provided invaluable advice gained through their extensive work supporting their mates in the former ADF network through the difficulties they experience post-service.
It is clear the program will require a personalised recovery service model, with clear goals set for each veteran during their stay at Wattle House. This will not be ‘just another place to stay’ - its focus will be recovery.
Some services and therapies will be accessed on-site, with others off-site. Each veteran’s needs are unique, so the program of services in which they participate and access will vary.
Some may be focussed on employment and need to work on job readiness with our Employment Services team, some may even undertake work experience whilst residing at Wattle House. Others may need access to family and individual counselling and therapy, or help with budgeting and setting financial goals.
The peer support amongst the residing cohort will be an invaluable element unique to Wattle House – veterans helping veterans achieve their chosen goals on a road to long-term recovery.
Workplace Giving Program Launched
In April 2017, Open Minds launched its Workplace Giving program, providing our staff with an opportunity to donate to the Wattle League Foundation, directly from their pre-tax pay.
By signing up to the Workplace Giving program, our staff donations will assist the Foundation to deliver programs to people in need of supports to recover from mental illness. The first of these programs will be Wattle House, supporting Australian veterans experiencing mental ill health as a direct result of their service to country.
It doesn't take much to make a difference. Our staff know that forgoing a cup of coffee once a week and instead contributing to the Wattle League Foundation DOES make a difference!
If your organisation would like to support the Wattle League Foundation through your staff Workplace Giving program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or visit www.wattleleaguefoundation.org.au
Giving starts with us
“I didn’t hesitate to sign up to the staff Workplace Giving program to support our Wattle League Foundation. I’m honoured to have a chance to give back to our ADF veterans and I am proud of Open Minds for their work in this space. Our legacy and history lives on in our Foundation and its first program to support our ex-service men and women.
With so many ADF personnel experiencing mental ill heath as a consequence of their service for our country, the establishment of Wattle House is very timely indeed, and sorely needed.
Donating through the Workplace Giving program means I know 100% of my donation goes directly towards the Wattle League Foundation. Giving pre-tax via this method also maximises my donation – another great win.”
General Manager Business Development
Open Minds staff member
Proud to serve our country
“We all have stories to tell about the difficulties we experienced upon our return. Some of us were hospitalised, some of us struggled through on our own. We were all asked what a non-acute facility should provide – we all agreed it should look and feel nothing like a hospital. We all stressed long term ‘recovery’ as the focus for Wattle House. We don’t want to go anywhere that doesn’t fix us – we need to set goals and recovery targets. Most of us are young and have our lives ahead of us. When we are well we have a lot to give back to our country, our community and our loved ones. We are proud to serve our country - if we had our time over again we would do it all the same.”
Sapper, Australian Defence Force (retired)
A family’s experience
“My husband was hospitalised on a number of occasions both in Victoria and Queensland – psychiatric wards are not places for family and especially not places for children.
If there was a facility during our time of need that could have included family we all would have understood his condition and treatment needs better. I fully support the establishment of Wattle House”
Partner of ADF Veteran, Queensland