Painaustralia National Patron, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d)
Veteran and Invictus Games competitor, Peter Rudland - Pain Champion
Painaustralia National Patron, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d) welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a national commission for defence and veteran suicide prevention.
“As Chief of our Defence Forces for many years, I witnessed the impact of pain on hundreds of personnel and saw first-hand its significant role in changing the life trajectory of many young people in the military – imposing disability and a life of ongoing challenge to function and participate in society and community.”
“As a country we need to take a more strategic national approach to a growing and complex epidemic that affects millions of our people, and the Prime Minister’s announcement today will take us one step closer to alleviating the burden of chronic pain on thousands of veterans and their families and carers,” Sir Angus Houston said.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, between 2002–2017 the age-adjusted rate of suicide in ex-serving men was 18% higher than in Australian men. Many factors are associated with higher suicide risk for suicide in veterans, with chronic pain an often overlooked one. A US study found that moderate and severe pain over the course of a year increased the risk of a suicide attempt in veterans, even after considering other risk factors.[i]
Veteran and Invictus Games competitor and Painaustralia Champion, Peter Rudland, knows firsthand the impact of chronic pain. Peter joined the Army in 1989 and was medically discharged recently. In 2010 he survived a Blackhawk helicopter crash, but the fatal accident left him with bleeding on the brain, organ damage and broken bones in most of the major parts of his.
“The mental health of veterans is receiving increasing attention but what is not often highlighted is the extent to which mental health problems and post-traumatic stress in particular, are underpinned by a pain condition that becomes chronic and disastrous if not well managed,” Peter said.
Painaustralia CEO, Carol Bennett, welcomed the announcement “Australia is facing a pain epidemic. With over 3.2 million living with pain every day, we need support across as many areas as we can get. Pain costs our country a staggering $140 billion dollar every year, yet people living with chronic pain including thousands of veterans struggle with limited access to options, with doctors and consumers continuing to rely heavily on prescription opioids to manage what is a multi-faceted, complex condition that needs more sophisticated responses,” Ms Bennett said.