Something to THINK ABOUT …

We are still in the shadow of Anzac Day and yet the Victorian Coroners Court was told this week that as many as five of our veterans may have taken their lives since this year’s commemorations.

One Afghanistan vet, Bradley Carr, tragically took his life on Anzac Day on the Gold Coast.

Surely, it’s time to listen to these terrible cries for help. The one thing we have learned down the years from the experiences of our returned veterans from all our conflicts is that everybody exposed to war is affected in some way.

Some are able to recover, some are damaged but manage to adjust and, sadly, many pay with their lives, either during the conflict or in the melancholy years following it.

It has always been thus. Experts now believe that the 62,000 Diggers who died during WWI were joined by at least that number again in the ten years immediately after the war (those who succumbed to their injuries or illnesses or who took their own lives).

Despite improvements in the care available to them, our most recent returned veterans seem to be suffering at least as much as their predecessors - perhaps even more than them.

In addition to the suicides, our recent veterans are beset by an array of physical and mental health issues and are greatly over-represented among our cities’ homeless.

The organisation best placed to care for these vets is the RSL. But it’s been sadly silent during this crisis, possibly because it’s been riven by its recent internal turmoil. But that’s no excuse. A sacred duty is calling our once revered RSL.

It must answer the calls: it must focus fiercely on the issue, seek the facts and the causes and urgently embark on a national campaign aimed at preventing even more tragic losses.