SUPPORT FOR PROJECT ASIST
Joint Media Release - 8 August 2001
The heads of the Returned and Services League of Australia,
Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia, and the Vietnam
Veterans' Association of Australia today issued a joint statement
urging Vietnam veterans to support Project 'ASIST' , a joint
initiative of the three organisations and the Department of
Veterans Affairs to address the high rate of suicide on children
of Vietnam Veterans. Major General Peter Phillips, Tim McCombe
and Brian McKenzie said today We are making this joint statement
to ask you to join with us in seeking to save the lives of our
sons and daughters who may be at risk of suicide. Sadly, some of
us will know from direct experience the tragic and lasting impact
of suicide on families and friends. Almost certainly, we will
know someone, young or old, who has taken his or her life.
We believe that members of the veteran community can play a
very important role in contributing to the efforts to prevent
suicide across Australia. Suicide prevention is everybody's
business. It is not a problem that will be solved by health
We want to challenge you to think about this question: 'How
can we support our mates and family members to choose life when
painful experiences may be preventing them from seeing a way
We have come together independent of our links to different
organisations to help to develop ideas to help answer this
question. The intent is to work on a project aiming to increase
the skill and confidence of veterans and their families to assist
people at risk of self-harm, as most people considering suicide
signal their distress and their intent.
The most beneficial approach would be to encourage members of
the veteran community to undertake practical training to be able
help those in distress.
Such a course is available through Lifeline Australia. Named
'Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training' (ASIST) it
provides practical skills to care givers with an emphasis on
providing 'suicide first aid' - helping a person at risk to stay
safe and seek further help. The ASIST course focuses on
developing basic skills.
ASIST aims to give both professionals and community
members/volunteers the confidence to identify someone at risk and
to help steer them into a safer direction.
Training may not be for everyone, but we ask you, whether you
are a veteran, a partner, a son or daughter to consider
participating over the next year.
To find out more please contact one of the following
- Ray De Vere (R&SLA) 07 3221 0722
- Tim McCombe (VVFA) 02 9682 1788
- Bob Tyrrell (VVFA) 02 6286 4837
- John Smith (VVAA) 07 5498 5202
- Brian McKenzie (VVAA) 03 6247 7778