141202 Guest Speaker, Matthew McDonnell
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141202 Guest Speaker, Matthew McDonnell

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Matthew McDonnell from Returned Serviceman's League (RSL) who spoke on how war affects health and life in Australia. There has recently been quite a bit of publicity about the mental health of East Timor and Afghanistan veterans. This affects families as well. 2015 is the centenary of ANZAC. The RSL was formed soon after the First World War and is developing the Virtual War Memorial Project". Matthew's autobiography as a soldier then as a professional in Antarctica was fascinating. Matthew is a police officer with roles as a police negotiator and in crime prevention. He conducts the Blue Light discos, works with youth, the hotels, schools and the media in his role. Matthew joined the RSL about eight years ago and was recently elected president. I don't think anyone realised that the Whyalla RSL is the oldest one outside of metropolitan Australia. He talked about post-traumatic stress disorder and the high incidence of alcohol and drug problems among returned soldiers as well as the high incidence of suicide among this group. Communities, colleagues and friends need to consider that the returned soldier has been changed by his (or her) war experience. They need our ongoing support and ongoing counselling

Item Code: 02 Dec 2014

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