Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has today welcomed the announcement of $1.1 million in grant payments over the next four years for the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RSA) and No Duff Charitable Trust.
The funding will see $250,000 going to the RSA, and $25,000 to No Duff annually to help fund their support services for veterans.
“The RSA and No Duff are doing outstanding work supporting our veterans,” says Ron Mark. “Today’s announcement is an acknowledgement that their work is important, and will give both organisations assurances to continue their support services.
“New Zealand now has around 41,000 veterans, around 30,000 of those are contemporary veterans from conflicts such as Vietnam, East Timor and Afghanistan.
“We’re seeing cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), and many of our younger men and women are returning from operational service in need of help.
“The RSA has worked hard to modernise its services to meet this emerging need. They are a great example of an organisation which has evolved and they are wonderful advocates for veterans.
“Alongside them, No Duff have become valued and trusted first responders. They’ve been there for many of our people in need and their reputation only grows by the day.
“As Minister for Veterans I’m focused on ensuring we have the right support in place for service people when they come back from operations. Today’s announcement is a small part of the overall picture, but it’s significant.
“It shows this Government is concerned about the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders, but it acknowledges veterans have some complex issues which may need more specialist support services. It’s heart-warming to see organisations such as the RSA and No Duff stepping up and making a difference,” says Ron Mark.
Symptoms of PTSI include reliving the event, including nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts. In addition, sufferers can experience avoiding thoughts, feelings, or situations that serve as reminders of the event, feeling numb or cut off from others, being easily startled and being vigilant for signs of danger.
Withdrawing from society and engaging in destructive behaviours such as problem drinking and drugs are other signs, which if not dealt with, can lead to self-harm.
If you are worried about you, or someone else's, mental health contact your GP or local mental health provider.
Veterans can also contact the RSA on one of the local support numbers found here:https://www.rsa.org.nz/support/team