Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 5 2011 Contents 9
One of Australia’s leading mental health
experts has hailed Defence as a world
leader on mental health issues.
The Executive Director of the Brain and
Mind Research Institute, Professor Ian
Hickie, described the Australian Defence
Force Mental Health and Wellbeing
Prevalence Study as world best practice.
“Defence, through its leadership,
through its medical research, is serious
about addressing these issues and has
chosen gutsy, smart, collective and
informed strategies to this major
Defence leads the way on mental health research
“Where they have really emphasised
prevention, early inter vention, use
of e-health strategies, easy access to
care, peer and family support and most
importantly collective action, they are
world leading,” Professor Hickie says.
The Chief of the Defence Force,
General David Hurley says the research
shows existing mental health programs
are working, but the ADF would always
strive to do better.
“The study highlights some areas
where we need to focus our attention,
but overall, it shows there is very little
difference between the mental health
prevalence of people who have deployed
on operations and those who have never
“Research findings will be applied
to current ADF policy and programs
required to meet the future needs of
serving ADF members after their military
ser vice ends,” General Hurley says.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing
Strategy will provide a blueprint for the
2012-2015 Mental Health Action Plan.
the way in
Defence, on behalf of 84
Commonwealth agencies, has signed a
new four-year whole-of-government
contract with ERM Power Retail
beginning on July 1.
The contract prices indicate that
Defence could reduce energy costs by
up to 17 per cent. This will help offset
anticipated increases in regulated fees,
retail prices and carbon tax impacts.
It is also an important element of the
Strategic Reform Program.
Since 2005 Defence has been the lead
agency in the procurement of electricity
for Commonwealth departments and
agencies with sites in the ACT.
Defence represents more than 50
per cent of all energy consumed by
Commonwealth agencies and currently
purchases 10 per cent green energy in
all its major electricity supply contracts.
Defence is examining and
implementing numerous energy
efficiency initiatives. Employees can help
reduce the Defence carbon footprint,
as well as energy costs, by turning off
lights and electrical equipment when
not required, taking short showers,
using natural ventilation where possible,
reporting faults and using off-peak
energy where possible.
If you have ideas for saving energy,
contact your local Regional Energy and
Defence Support Group employee Shelly
Thomson has bravely signed up to shave her
head, all in the name of charity.
Shelly, who joined the depar tment
three years ago as a graduate, is excited
about the prospect of raising money for
a charity close to her heart.
Shelly’s charity of choice isYoungcare,
an Australia-wide, Brisbane-based
organisation committed to getting
young people with high-level care needs
out of nursing homes and into suitable
accommodation and care options.
“I have chosen a charity that advocates
an issue which I have been passionate
about for a long time,” Shelly says.
“Before working for Defence I was a
disability carer for people with high-level
care needs. I saw first-hand the limited
care options available for young people
who require 24-hour suppor t.
“If you’re 18 and no longer want
your family to be looking after all of
your personal care needs, there are
not many options that will suppor t
you to live a ‘young’ and fulfilled
life. This is a gap in our society that
Youngcare is striving to fill through
increased accommodation options,
advocacy and lobbying.”
Shelly’s blonde, red and purple
dreadlocks have become known around the
halls of Russell Offices in Canberra.
“I’ve had the dreads for close to six
years now, but I’m willing to sacrifice
them for the right price,” Shelly says.
At the end of October, two months
after Shelly’s website was launched, she
had already raised more than $2500
in donations – halfway to her goal of
$5000. Shelly will be shaving her head
in early December and will keep those
interested in the event updated through
For information on how to donate,
further photos and updates, and to
learn more about Youngcare,
Shelly Thomson and her long dreadlocks, which will soon
be taken off for a great cause.
Shelly says goodbye to her
dreadlocks for charity
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