Veterans struggling with transition and mental health issues will be able to access online peer-to-peer support through a new pilot partnership from RSL Queensland and Survive to Thrive Nation.
The pilot will enable veterans to access the Post War: Survive to Thrive personal development coaching program.
RSL Queensland General Manager Scott Denner said Survive to Thrive provided a valuable forum for veterans to build resilience and regain control of their lives.
“A significant difference with the Survive to Thrive program is that it has been developed by a veteran to address the issues he was facing in his own life,” Mr Denner said.
“There is sometimes a perception among veterans that civilian health professionals cannot understand what they are going through, but they can recognise the military mindset that underlies the Survive to Thrive program.
“As well as providing personal development coaching, Survive to Thrive allows veterans to connect with others who have been through similar experiences and come out the other side.”
“It is also a great option for veterans who are living in rural or remote areas, who may have limited access to face-to-face support programs,” Mr Denner said.
He said an independent evaluation by the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) indicated that veterans experienced positive outcomes after participating in the program, particularly if combined with clinical therapies.
Survive to Thrive founder and former infantry soldier Dane Christison said he had developed the program after suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) himself.
“I began clinical treatment, but I found the courses and programs were tailored for civilians; they didn’t answer the questions I had,” Mr Christison said.
“It wasn’t until I stopped blaming everyone else and took back the power for my own recovery that I began to see how I could move forward.
“Survive to Thrive teaches participants to accept their situation but not tolerate it. We give them the training structure and tools to allow them to take control of their own recovery and boost their wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem.”
Former Army bomb disposal technician Corey Stamp said Survive to Thrive had made a big difference in his life since he discharged two years ago.
“It was what I needed when I got out,” Mr Stamp said.
“I had a breakdown after my first tour of Afghanistan in 2010 but I wanted to go back so I just suppressed everything I was feeling.
“To a certain extent, Defence provides a safety blanket – losing that, combined with losing the routine and all my mates was a real shock to the system.
“Survive to Thrive gave me back the structure that I was missing from Defence, as well as giving me the strength to take ownership of what I was going through and to stop playing the victim,” he said.
Mr Denner said through the pilot program, RSL would provide licences to eligible veterans who might not otherwise be able to afford the program.
“Veterans will get ongoing 24/7 access to the Survive to Thrive portal, including eight coaching modules and an online support group where participants encourage, inspire and motivate each other.”