How to Support Defence Force Personnel on ANZAC Day

April 23, 2019

How to Support Defence Force Personnel on ANZAC Day


For many Australian and New Zealand citizens, ANZAC Day is reserved especially for our defence force personnel.

This day marks the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.  Hundreds of thousands of citizens gather at memorials in cities, suburbs and towns across Australia, commemorating one of the most significant events in our national calendar.

This ANZAC Day, take time out to recognise the work of our frontline workers and check in to offer support. Here’s how you can help to support those who have, or are currently serving on the front line:

Send a care parcel or message of thanks

Sending a care parcel comprised of gender-neutral, non-perishable goods is a great way to acknowledge defence personnel active on the front line and let them know citizens are thinking of them on home soil. If you want to send a parcel, ensure you address it to ‘An Australian Defence Member’, not to a specific job title, trade or unit member. This ensures an equitable distribution of parcels can take place.

support defence force personnel

To ensure that all items are able to be delivered to our deployed forces, donors are advised to visit the Australian Defence Force website for more information about requirements and restrictions.

Furthermore, for immediate distribution you can also send an email message of thanks to defence personnel on ANZAC Day  These messages are widely circulated and are greatly appreciated by Defence members.

Attend a service

ANZAC Day services take place all around Australia and New Zealand – take time out to gather with fellow community members, veterans and currently serving defence force personnel. Here, you are able to pay your respects as you watch the veteran’s march, laying of the memorial wreaths, the Sounding of the Last Post and observe one minute’s silence.

Attending a service is a great way to show your respect and acknowledge the hard work and efforts of Australian and New Zealand defence force personnel.

Reach out and check in

Due to being exposed to trauma and high-stress situations, veterans are more susceptible to mental health issues than the general population. A 2018 study showed that Australian Defence Personnel are more reluctant to admit to struggling with their mental health, being more concerned with being seen as weak or having their fellow front line workers lose confidence in their personal and professional abilities.

Support the mental health of veterans and current serving defence force personnel by starting the conversation on wellbeing. Rather than direct confrontation, which can be overwhelming or invasive, start by simply checking in and enquiring as to how they are going, if they need anything or invite them to partake in a social activity. Connect on their level by acknowledging the work and service they have provided, say thank you and empathise with any struggles they may have gone through or are currently experiencing in transitioning to and from their work. By being pro-active in starting the conversation on mental health, troops may be more receptive to admitting having difficulties.

If you are a veteran looking for mental health support, check out the 2019 Frontline Mental Health Conference, designed for Australia & New Zealand’s first responders, veterans, defence force personnel, NGO workers and volunteers.

Discover research, insight and treatment techniques from mental health experts, meet with fellow industry workers and unite to break the stigma of mental health for those working on the front line.