For many veterans, the transition to civilian life can be extremely challenging and it’s important to understand professional support may be needed.
About the client
Edward* served in the Australian Defence Force for several years, including overseas service. During his time as an ADF instructor, he suffered multiple physical injuries including tinnitus and broken bones, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Edward was medically discharged from the ADF in October 2019.
Similar to many people before him and many who will come after him, Edward had difficulty accepting his discharge from the army. He struggled to transition to civilian life. Edward felt isolated from his family, friends and local community, and was also trying to manage his physical and psychological health conditions. It’s no surprise that at least 27% of veterans experience difficulty re-entering civilian life, particularly those who served in combat.
How Recovery Partners helped
Recovery Partners received the referral for rehabilitation services from DVA in October 2019, shortly following Edward’s discharge. Natalie Mizzau, Quality Assurance Manager, managed Edward’s file and understood the different physical, psychosocial and vocational goals that needed to be achieved.
Natalie helped connect Edward to a local GP for management of his compensable health conditions. She also encouraged engagement with his treating Exercise Physiologist and Psychiatrist.
Through regular contact and relationship building, Natalie discovered Edward had a passion for bike riding and camping. To help adjust to civilian life and make meaningful connections with his family, friends and community, Natalie encouraged and facilitated extracurricular activities, including bike riding and camping.
A vocational assessment was completed in March 2020. Due to the taxing nature as instructor in the ADF, Edward was no longer interested in teaching or training people and wished to work in a role with less stress and less responsibility. He expressed interest in working in the field of Retail, Customer Service or Motor Vehicle Parts. Medical approval for the vocational options was obtained in April 2020.
Natalie assisted Edward to create a resume tailored for his approved vocational options, which was completed by mid-July 2020. As he started adjusting to civilian life, Edward approached a local bike and powersports shop where he began volunteer work. Natalie facilitated an 8-week work trial with the bike shop with the goal to push the work trial into an offer of paid employment.
Conclusion and Key achievements
With regular contact and relationship building, Edward reached the point where he felt he was independent and no longer required support from Natalie or Recovery Partners. The host employer was very pleased with Mr Norton’s work performance during the work trial. He demonstrated capacity to engage in a civilian role and obtained a formal offer of employment at his local bike shop doing work that is meaningful and enjoyable to him.
With support from Natalie and Recovery Partners, Edward was able to achieve:
- Complete acceptance psychologically that he is no longer part of the Australian Defence Force.
- Independent management of his compensable health conditions.
- Able to engage in regular family and social activities.
- Demonstrated capacity to maintain customer service work requirements via work trial at his local bike shop.
Edward has verbalised that he valued the regular check-ins to see how he was going and support him to complete activities that brought him closer to his goals.
In his own words; “Thank you for your help, it’s been really appreciated.”
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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