Photo by Carlos Lindner
Originally Posted On: What services does RSL support? | Win A Home
World War One was a difficult time for everyone involved, but particularly the veterans that so bravely fought in it. Many came home with life-changing physical injuries, and many of those that were lucky enough to escape getting physically hurt had to deal with some of the debilitating mental effects of Post – Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This means that they found it incredibly difficult to find their place in mainstream society, and many were living in poverty and anguish.
This is why the RSL Art Union was set up.
The aim was to provide a secure channel of funding for the RSL Queensland, to allow the support programs that so many of the brave veterans and their families relied on to continue.
Fundraising started in 1056 with the RSL Queensland and today, the RSL Art Union works with those who have returned to Queensland from recent conflicts, as well as those who are on the path to recovery from deployments in the past. The organization delivers the vital funding needed to continue this valuable work, as well as providing financial aid, counselling and therapy, rehabilitation, accommodation and so much more.
Every single ticket that is sold benefits our returned Queensland veterans and their families. It also helps to assist in funding programs for veterans throughout the whole of the country. We rely on this continued support and contribution so that we can continue to provide friendship and help for many more years to come.
How does RSL support veterans?
RSL works tirelessly with veterans, whether they were deployed a couple of years ago or decades ago – the anguish and injury, whether mental or physical, certainly does not disappear overnight. We have lots of projects and initiatives going on, with the aim to provide well-rounded assistance and support in all aspects of their life. These include:
- Providing assistance for more than 3, 000 veterans every year with the Department for Veterans Affairs (DVA) claims. This covers medical expenses, income claims, and pensions, to support them in their advanced years.
- Hospital and home visits for over 8, 300 veterans and their immediate families every single year
- Providing a massive range of more than 80 affordable and safe housing options
- Supporting veterans and their families in their mental health through therapy and counselling.
- Providing educational and scholarship programs for the children of veterans and their husbands and wives, giving them a greater chance of success in life
- Preserving the memory of those who fought or served through multiple school-based initiatives
- Helping those who need it in tribunal cases and appeals.
- Emergency financial support
- Bereavement support for those in defence families who lose a loved one doing the job
- Providing and attending funerals for veterans with no known living family or next of kin.
RSL Employment Program
Re-entering the workforce after a period of deployment, particularly if they have experienced physical or mental trauma or both can be a huge challenge for veterans. The RSL Employment Program aims to help veterans – and their families – make the smooth transition into civilian employment and settled down in an emotionally and financially rewarding career.
We have helped almost 300 veterans get back into the job market and employment after completing their defence careers, and we hope to help many more. We have a tailored program to play to each person’s individual skills and requirements. It is an entirely free service to those who use it, done via phone call or online. We can help with:
- Choosing the right career path
- Translating skills to the civilian job market
- CV and application help and interview coaching
- Connecting veterans to potential employers all over the country
It is not just the veterans that need our support; it is their family too. They have been the backbone, keeping things going at home, looking after children, moving from military base to military base, and possibly turning down opportunities of their own to support their armed forces partner. We recognize this and have initiatives in place to help them and give them the support that they also deserve. To date, we have helped 95 defence partners get back into employment. This too is done via telephone and/or online.
We can’t do this without the employers though. We need them to see the potential in ex-military men and women and give them the opportunity to reintegrate into the civilian workplace. Every year, 5, 500 people leave the defence force year in Australia, meaning that there is an enormous pool of untapped resources, all with unique and valuable skills and talents to bring to the table. We can help employers to use this to their advantage while taking care of the veterans that they employ. We do this with a range of resources, online templates, and modules.
Many veterans do not want to dive back into the civilian workplace and instead want to further the vast amount of skills that they picked up while on deployment and serving in the defence force of Australia. That is why we have a comprehensive scholarship program available to veterans. This increases chances of employability, gives a sense of purpose – essential if PTSD or other mental trauma is at play – and a sense of financial security. The RSL Queensland Scholarship program hopes to empower former defence force personnel and their partners and children by supporting them through tertiary education and/or vocational training and giving them a foot in the door when it comes to future employability.
RSL is also proud to have established and to continue to support the Mates4Mates program. As the name suggests, it is a way of providing support and friendship for ex-defence force members of Australia. Service-related injuries are commonplace, but that does not make them any easier to deal with and live with. We know this, so we aim to provide a level of support to help them navigate through what can be a tough readjustment period, with people who know exactly what they are going through.
At Mated4Mares we hold regular social activities – weekly barbecues and catchups over coffee, creative art, and cooking groups and programs running through school holidays, and plenty more. This enables close connections and friendships with like-minded people to be made, who can support each other through the tough times and celebrate the many achievements.
We also offer targeted recovery programs with physical rehabilitation and wellbeing services. Physical injuries are all too common in the ex-military community so we have developed a range of activities and support to help with recovery and strength building. This is provided by professional physiologists and liaison officers through activities such as yoga, pilates, cycling, adaptive sports, and regular outdoor activities to promote good physical health and wellbeing. We also support the wider family with this, recognizing the importance of their physical health too in enabling the veteran’s recovery.
Overcoming injury and trauma can have a huge psychological impact, not just on the service member themselves but the rest of their family. We do not believe anyone should go through it alone, which is why we have a range of evidence-based therapies and access to trained counsellors and psychologists. This can help the veteran begin to move forward from PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, struggles with relationships, and any other mental or emotional obstacles that are stopping life from being lived to its fullest.
Skills for Recovery Programs
When it comes to recovering from physical and emotional injury, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Every single person is different in terms of their experiences and their requirements, which is why we offer a range of tailored rehabilitation options.
If you are currently serving, a veteran or a family member, our Skills for Recovery Programs are designed to give you the opportunity to develop relevant skills and strategies that will help you manage your health and well-being both now and in the future. These include sessions and workshops that aim to foster a greater sense of resilience and assist with the regulation of emotions and tolerance of distress.
Homelessness and Crisis Accommodation
We often take permanent and safe housing for granted – after all, it is one of our most fundamental needs. However, for some veterans, it sadly is not the case. Some are couch surfing, some live in their car, and some live rough. Whatever the situation, wherever their heads rest at night, we can help find somewhere that can be called home. RSL Queensland works with The Salvation Army to find emergency accommodation when it is needed and in the long-term work with various agencies and institutions to help veterans find somewhere safe and permanent to live.
The RSL both provides and supports a whole range of services for veterans, whether recent or from some time ago, and their families. For more information on any of these services, please get in touch.