ADF-PersonnelWith the annual upcoming Anzac Day on 25th April, we wanted to cover a topic that is serious and effects many Australian families. How do war veterans integrate back into society after seeing what they’ve seen and experiencing what they have?

Soldiers are some of the most dedicated and patriotic people one can ever meet. In every war they engage in, they put one foot in the grave – all in the name of service. For many of them, war has become a big part of their lives.

What happens when the fighting stops? Or when their services are no longer required by the country they so faithfully serve? Can they simply toss away their guns and pack their bags and head on home? What happens when they reach home?

These are just some of the many questions that trouble many soldiers when they are released from service.  As people who have literally risked life and limb for their motherland, the answers never come easy.

Leaving the war zone doesn’t mean that the battle is finished. In fact, on the way home, many soldiers are thrown into another war – only this time it is not fought in the battlefield, but rather within. Many war veterans experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and guilt about making it out alive and this in combination with integration back into society can make them anxious.

One of the many dilemmas of soldiers returning from battle is having to reintegrate back into society. The war, with its own unique brand of horror, has left horrendous scenarios engraved in the soldiers’ minds. This coupled with the fact that they are so used to living in a military camp, can make it difficult for them to find their place and role in a society. Fortunately, there are solutions to such dilemmas, and some of them most effective ones are outlined in the following paragraphs.

Embrace the New Environment

It is never easy to adapt to a new environment.  The physical landscape has changed from deserts and jungles to manicured lawns and suburban houses or busy overcrowded cities.  Brothers in arms have been replaced by family, friends and neighbours who mean well and want to help.

Looking closer this is not a totally new environment – in fact, it is something familiar, an environment that every soldier left behind in order to protect – an environment called home. In order to get back to society, one must embrace their new ‘camp’ along with their new ‘comrades.’

Join Military Programs for Returning Soldiers

The military and the government understand the ordeals of returning soldiers, and have developed many programs and counselling sessions that can help. Every soldier should take advantage of these programs which can help the transition process of adapting to a civilian lifestyle painless and easy.

Start Working

Finding a job or setting up a new business is a great way to integrate back into the society. It not only keeps the mind away from the terrible moments of the war, but also helps in creating new social relationship and provides soldiers with a purpose. Some military programs offer help in this area by holding workshops about resume writing and others, and can even make referrals where necessary.

Go to Back to School

Getting a post graduate degree is another way of easing back into the community. This can be very beneficial in a number of ways such as expanding skills and knowledge to assist with job seeking and getting to know other people and socialising with them.

Integrating back into the society is not always easy – there will be doubts, there will be questions, and at times, there will be wishes and urges to enlist again. However with the proper support and assistance, it is possible for every soldier to find their place in society.  Besides, after years of hard-fought battles protecting the country, all these heroes deserve a place to come home to.

If you or someone you know has a Repatriation Health Card contact us today to discover how to access our services paid for by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).