Soldier On Australia is calling for support for modern veterans and their families this Anzac Day, in honour of those who suffered after World War I.
One hundred years ago, with WW1 having ended only a few months before, hundreds of thousands of Australian ex–servicemen – many terribly injured mentally and physically – began to return to Australia and faced the task of reintegrating into society.
But after fighting on multiple fronts including Gallipoli and The Somme – our diggers, many of whom were suffering significant physical and mental injuries, came back to find a society lacking in the resources and the knowledge required to support them. In 1919 an exhausted Australia was keen to consign the Great War to the past and resume normal life. For our diggers the trauma continued and transitioning back into society was a supremely difficult task.
This year, 100 years later, more than 5000 Australian modern veterans will leave active service to return to society. For some it will still be a traumatic and difficult time. Many of these men and women will have fought in the wars of the last 20 years but unfortunately many are still fighting their own personal wars inside themselves.
Soldier On Chairman General Peter Leahy says: “This Anzac Day we must make sure that Australia never again lets down those who have served. Last year a staggering number of ex-servicemen and women took their own lives – and that is simply a national disgrace.”
Soldier On CEO Mat Jones adds: “Soldier On knows what has to be done. We’ve proven that our programs are comprehensive and relevant to ensure that we can support veterans and their families build better futures post their service. The challenge now is to expand our services into the parts of Australia where many veterans are based but find themselves without support.
“This Anzac Day we’re asking Australians to become regular givers or provide a much-needed donation in honour of those for whom the Great War never ended. As a regular giver you will know that you are ensuring that our modern veterans will always receive the support they need and that your contribution will be saving lives.”
Soldier On is Australia’s only national fully integrated and holistic support services provider for our national service personnel and their families. Soldier On provides a range of mental health and wellbeing, employment and transition, education and training services as well as conducting programs and activities that are focused on connections with family, friends, and the broader community.
Soldier On currently supports more than 2600 veterans and their families all over Australia.
But CEO Mat Jones says the organisation’s resources are stretched to the limit: “We are finding it very difficult to meet the increasing demand, particularly in regional areas. We have the programs and they are proven, but without Australians providing additional support, we are unable to expand further. This means there are veterans and their families that we simply can’t support like we need to.”
Everyday Australians can donate or become a regular giver via the Soldier On website (www.soldieron.org.au – a special ‘In Their Honour’ page will be set-up) to help fund the programs that Soldier On operates. Soldier On is also calling on Australian corporates to become a Pledge Partner so that the organisation can continue to expand its services across Australia – especially in regional areas.