RSL is on the search for serving officers

SEEKING HELP: RSL's Michael Anderson attends all the shows.
SEEKING HELP: RSL's Michael Anderson attends all the shows. Philippe Coquerand

WITH an increase in mental health problems in veterans or serving officers, the RSL is attending rural shows in the hopes it can reach out to those suffering.

RSL advocate Michael Anderson said it was important for those who had served or were currently serving to receive help.

"I try and give advice to veterans and their families or war widows of their entitlements for Legacy,” Mr Anderson said.

"A lot of them just don't know that they are entitled to help. What the RSL is trying to do now is pick up some of the younger veterans, the ones from Iraq and Afghan veterans.

"They have just disappeared, they've come home and headed overseas or disappeared into the bush and we're trying to find them, some have mental health problems and we're just trying to look after them.”

He said it was a constantly increasing situation, with mental health problems becoming more prevalent in our society.

"Unfortunately the issue is increasing, I think we do have a lot more mental health problems today because of the way Afghanistan was,” Mr Anderson said.

"There was a big problem in Vietnam of course, they went there and spent 12 months, and some were doing six-month tours and coming home.

"They'd say 'hello darling, hello kids' and then back to Vietnam because we just didn't have enough soldiers.

"Some of the wives are suffering because the partners are suffering, because we have women who went as well, and their partners just can't relate to them, sometimes they need counselling too.”

The difficult thing was tracking down the veterans, he said.

"Finding them is proving very tricky and we attend these country shows in the hopes some may start a conversation with us,” Mr Anderson said.

"A lot of them just don't like the RSL.

"They see it as beer and pokies which is the club side, the club has nothing to do with the RSL sub branch.”

Topics:  country shows rsl soldiers

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