No Duff - Peer Support for Armed Services Personnel

No Duff

“I still find it shameful the way these people were literally willing to die for us but we just cut them lose when their service is done.”

No Duff is a peer support group for former armed services personnel. You can read about them here: http://www.noduff.org/

They also have a FaceBook page which can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/NoDuffNZ/

No Duff have also made Podcasts which are eye openers. One by Dr Paul Nialis (former Chief Medical Officer of the NZ Defence Force), is quite damming of how we take care of the mental wellbeing of former service people. WARNING: please note that some of the content is confronting and viewers should use discretion! You can find those here: https://www.accessradiotaranaki.com/archives/no-duff-true-stories/

Speaking to the men that got this rolling they instinctively went to a peer support model without knowing how important the concept of peer support is in mental health and addiction recovery. From the outside the armed forces seem totally top down, order / obey, in their structure however supporting the person beside you is an essential component of military service so when people leave it can be a very frightening experience to realise that all that support and back up is no longer there.

Their database of supporters enables them to match people with peer supports who served in the same service, reached a similar rank, and had similar career experience and deployments. Tailored peer support.

In addition to peer support No Duff are open to doing whatever it takes. On more than one occasion, No Duff have used their networks to locate mentally distressed veterans who have gone AWOL from civilian life.

The preparation ex-military people are given before discharge is woefully inadequate. A three day course about how to apply for jobs, write a CV, etc. Nothing about coping with what you’ve seen or done and no support to de-institutionalise them which is particularly poor given the efforts the armed services put in to institutionalise recruits right at the start of their career.

Psychological support is available whilst serving, however lots of people don’t use it as ‘that would be weakness’ in a hard man’s world.

It’s worth remembering that whilst it may seem our armed services haven’t been in an official war since Vietnam they have been in war zones with all the terrors that entails. These include Afghanistan, Iraq, Timor, and countless deployments of individuals, or small groups in peace-keeping roles across the globe. Even those never deployed abroad may have trauma from working in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes, or similar situations.

As a nation we owe these people. And whilst the current government has made some positive moves, I still find it shameful the way these people were literally willing to die for us but we just cut them lose when their service is done. Peer Support is an obvious way to go, but once again it required Joseph Public and is mates to just get on and do it then wait for ‘the system’ to catch up.

 

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