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Defence force staff ‘need yearly mental health checks’

TAKING CARE: Diggers Brandon James, from Mooroopna, Victoria, and Corren Ints, from Morayfield, Queensland, secure a tank graveyard outside an Australian camp in Iraq earlier this year.
TAKING CARE: Diggers Brandon James, from Mooroopna, Victoria, and Corren Ints, from Morayfield, Queensland, secure a tank graveyard outside an Australian camp in Iraq earlier this year. GARY Ramage / aap

EVERY serving Defence Force member should have their mental health screened at least once a year, and soldiers who have received the malaria drug mefloquine should have neurological assessments, a Senate committee has recommended.

The report of a Senate committee inquiry into the mental health of Defence Force personnel was tabled in the Upper House on Thursday night and made 17 recommendations to the Turnbull government.

Among them were calls for better keeping of health records for those recovering from traumatic events and linking medical records to service records of serving Defence staff.

After revelations of a malaria treatment drug used on some Defence staff resulting in symptoms including psychosis, the Senate committee also called for all Defence staff who had been administered the drug to be told about the possible short and long-term side-effects.

Topics:  australian defence force defence mental health military post-traumatic stress disorder


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