Veterans’ Health Week – Queensland

Royal Australian Air Force officer Flight Lieutenant Dominic Camille from 295 Squadron shares images of his family with Chaplain John Raike during Operation COVID-19 Assist in Victoria. © Commonwealth of Australia 2020

Social Connection is the theme of this year’s Veterans’ Health Week which runs from October 24 to November 1.

This year has thrown us all challenges and presented us with many barriers to social connection which have been out of our control.

We know Defence Families often face more challenges than most in staying connected for many reasons. Whether it be deployment, exercises, MWD(U), moving away from family and friends or the challenges of struggling to build new social and employment networks with each new posting. We also know that having at least one mutually beneficial social connection is a key wellness indicator.

Our Communications Officer, Michelle and her daughters have been indoor rowing virtually with their ADF member, husband and Dad, Andy. The family is currently separated because of MWDU.

Defence Families are skilled at thinking outside the box and coming up with creative and interesting ways to overcome challenges and adversity, and we know many families have tried and tested methods of maintaining connection virtually.

Recently my family have had a virtual birthday celebration, FaceTime story time with Nanna, Zoom happy hour and Trivia and this week I’m even having a Webex lunch where everyone has been sent an Uber Eats voucher and will log in at the same time to have lunch together.

Yes it’s challenging and it is not the same as face to face and who knows when we will be able to do that again. But I am incredibly thankful for the small mercies of technology and still being able to see the people I care about and connect with even if I can’t hug them.

This year our Queensland Delegates along with Open Arms, Defence Health, DCO, Mates for Mates, RSL Queensland and Kookaburra Kid are running a Virtual Veterans’ Health Week. Organisations will be hosting a range of virtual activities to bring veterans and families together and provide opportunities for connection.

We would like to showcase ideas our families use to stay connected while being physically separated. We are asking families to send us their best tips and/or photos of things they do to keep connected when they can’t be together so we can share them on our social media channels. We know the best advice comes from someone who’s been there and we would love to hear about your experiences.

Send an email to nth.qld@dfa.org.au or sth.qld@dfa.org.au 

*Please ensure that you have permission from all parties in the photo before sharing* 

Sarah Felber
Southern Queensland National Delegate

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Defence Families of Australia

National Advocacy body for current ADF families. We are all partners of current serving members.