New DVA Branch for Veterans
In recognition of the changing needs of the veteran community, the Department of Veterans Affairs has created a new Branch to consolidate mental and social health programs.
The past 12 months has seen an increasing number of presentations from veterans and families seeking mental health and wellbeing support, particularly in the Mental Health & Wellbeing Services Division, which encompasses the Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling service, Coordinated Client Support providing case management and on-base services, and the Department’s Communications capability.
DVA Secretary Liz Cosson AM CSC has announced that the new Mental & Social Health Programs Branch will consolidate all of the Division’s mental and social health programs as well as practice improvement, clinical governance, innovative research and pilots.
The overall focus of the Division on Mental Health and Wellbeing means Open Arms can work closely with the Triage and Connect team, which is the gateway to all supports under DVA’s Client Support Program.
Open Arms remains a separate Branch, proudly maintaining the legacy of its founding organisation, Vietnam Veterans’ Counselling Service (VVCS). It will always be a counselling service focused on meeting the needs of the veteran community, which is different, but complementary, to the range of services offered by the broader Department.
Coordinated Client Support Branch will focus on on-base services and case management support, including Triage & Connect.
According to Ms Cosson, the consolidation of mental health and social programs, practice improvement, innovation and clinical governance into the new branch will strengthen these functions, and also enable Open Arms and the Client Coordinated Services branches to focus solely on working together to ensure that the Department can respond quickly and effectively to veterans and families at risk.