Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling

A service founded by Vietnam veterans
Also known as
  • Veterans & Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)
Business Summary
VVCS provides veterans & their families free & confidential counselling & support for war & service-related mental health conditions.
About Us

The VVCS Legacy

The Vietnam War was a difficult time & for those who had served forged strong bonds & a deep commitment to look out for each other.  With this deep sense of mateship, Vietnam veterans lobbied for a specialised counselling & support service to help veterans & their families.

In 1982 the Australian Government established the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service, opening it's first office in Adelaide & then another 8 across Australia 18 months later. Today VVCS has counselling centres all over Australia, with a network of outreach counsellors.

Since establishment, VVCS has expanded it's range of services & now assists those involved in all military conflicts & peacekeeping operations & their families. So in 2007, the service was renamed to VVCS - Veterans & Veterans Families Counselling Services, to better reflect the benefits & services they offer, now open to all Australian veterans & their families.

VVCS is the legacy of Australia's Vietnam veterans, who has ensured that future generations of serving men & women have access to specialised mental health & wellbeing support.

If you wish to find out more about VVCS, click here.

What We Do

VVCS Services

VVCS provides free & confidential, nation-wide counselling & support for war & service-related mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance & anger. VVCS also offers support for relationship & family matters that arises due to the nature of the military lifestyle.

VVCS services include:

To check if you're eligible for VVCS services, click here.

For more information on VVCS services, click here.

FAQs
Am I eligible for benefits & services from VVCS?
The Veterans & Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) provides a free & confidential counselling & support service to all Australian service men & women, veterans & their families. To check or confirm your eligibility for VVCS benefits & services please call 1800 011 046 or visit www.vvcs.gov.au/Clients/eligibility-at-a-glance.htm.
What happens when I contact VVCS for the first time?
At the point of first contact with VVCS, you will need to complete an intake interview with a VVCS counsellor, usually taking 20-30 minutes. During the interview, the counsellor with ask you a series of questions about yourself & why you would like assistance. The counsellor will also check your eligibility to use VVCS services & talk to you about whether our service is best to meet your needs. For more information visit www.vvcs.gov.au/Services/getting-started.htm or call us on 1800 011 046.
How do I access VVCS after-hours crisis counselling?
To access the after-hours crisis counselling line, simply call the toll free national number 1800 011 04. Please note, calls from pay phones & some mobile phones may incur charges. The after-hours crisis counselling line provides supportive, confidential counselling to all members of the veterans & ex-service community who need support or are in crisis.
How do I register for a Group Program run by VVCS?
If you are interested in joining a group program on offer at VVCS please phone 1800 011 046 to speak with one of our representatives or complete & submit the Online Registration of Interest form using the link www.vvcs.gov.au/Services/GroupPrograms/GroupProgramRegistration.aspx .
What is a crisis?
A crisis is considered any critical situation in which a veteran is significantly emotionally upset & feels unable to cope. This may be due to personal or external circumstances. Some common factors to contribute to a crisis may include: undiagnosed or poorly managed physical & mental health conditions, alcohol or drug use, relationship issues, social isolation or reluctance or unwillingness to address problems. If you want to learn more visit www.vvcs.gov.au/Services/clients-in-crisis.htm
How do I respond to a crisis?
Firstly identify whether you think the veteran will harm themselves or others. If you think this is possible you should immediately call 000. If you think there is no physical danger involved, it is important that you seek assistance from a trained health professional or crisis counsellors, if alcohol, medication or drug abuse is involved. For assistance, referrals & more information please call us on 1800 011 046 or visit www.vvcs.gov.au/Services/responding-to-a-crisis.htm
What is a VVCS outreach counsellor?
An outreach counsellor is a counsellor in the VVCS Outreach Program which provide services to enable VVCS clients access to a clinician skilled in veteran & military mental health regardless of where in Australia they are located.
At A Glance
35 years of mental health support for veterans
Provides free & confidential counselling & support
A legacy of Australia's Vietnam veterans
Provides services for over 27,000 clients a year
Strong network of outreach counsellors nation-wide