I am immensely proud of how Australians have responded to the challenges of 2020, coming together and looking out for each other.

Events like we have experienced this year can build up and have an impact on our mental health, sometimes without us even realising it.
It is important that we look after our mates and we can all play a part in the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Our ADF personnel have been there when we’ve needed them this year, through the bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic, and this has led to many of them being apart from their families for extended periods of time.

If you are a Defence member, or a veteran, or one of the many families who support them, my message is simple. If you are struggling, help is available to you, please reach out.

For all current ADF members and their families, the Defence all-hours Support Line is a confidential telephone and online service and is available on 1800 628 036. And for all current and former ADF members, and their families, Open Arms provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling and support on 1800 011 046.

There is also support available through SafeZone and when you call, it is up to you how much or how little personal information you share. This is available on 1800 142 072.

Open Arms is also supporting a #Check5 campaign, encouraging all veterans and their family members to square away their mental health and check in with five people in their lives. Connect with them, have a chat and motivate them to act.

Mental health is everyone’s business and we all have a part to play — check in on a mate, ask them if they are OK, have a conversation and help them get support if they need it.

Darren Chester MP, Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.