Stepping towards better mental health

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Ben Robson (author), LSIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra

Topic(s): Health, Fitness and Wellbeing, ADF Metal Health Day

Canberra based ADF and APS staff and their families participate in the Defence Mental Health Day Bridge-to-Bridge Walk held around Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.  (photo: LSIS James McDougall)
Canberra based ADF and APS staff and their families participate in the Defence Mental Health Day Bridge-to-Bridge Walk held around Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.

Navy personnel have stepped out in Canberra as part of a group of around 300 Defence personnel showing support to raise awareness of mental health issues.

The five-kilometre ‘bridge-to-bridge’ walk around Lake Burley Griffin took place on World Mental Health Day, with a theme this year of ‘Do You See What I See?’

With one in five Australians affected by mental illness annually, Vice Chief of Defence Force, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the ADF was committed to reducing the stigma of mental illness within the workforce.

“The walk was about coming together and getting to know each other,” he said.

“It was a great opportunity to contemplate how well we know the people we work with, our families and our communities, and making sure that we are all fit and well in terms of our physical and mental health.

“As an organisation we are proud to support a variety of World Mental Health Day activities and are committed to cultural change, making mental health issues more widely known and accepted.”

A barbeque lunch was held following the walk, attended by a number of Invictus athletes who spoke with participants, a Mental Health display and a performance by an eight-piece pop band from Royal Military College.

Across the Defence community, a number of events took place to help change perceptions about mental illness in an effort to reduce stigma and make way for more people to seek the help and support they need.

Defence seeks to equip its leaders at all levels with skills and tools to support the good mental health and wellbeing of our people, together with providing resources for those who need them.

If you or someone you know in Defence is seeking support for mental health issues, call:
  • All-hours support line 1800 628 036

  • Defence Family Helpline 1800 624 608

  • Veterans' and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service 1800 011 046

  • Lifeline 13 11 14