Mental health was brought to the forefront this week.
The Lightning Bolt II Invictus convoy arrived at the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon on Monday, as part of the largest awareness event for post-traumatic stress.
Stand Tall for PTS founder Tony Dell said the convoy was all about raising awareness.
“The word is getting out and that’s what we’re all about,” he said.
“We want people to start the conversation. Talk to someone, talk to your partner, go and see your local GP,” Mr Dell said.
Convoy co-organiser Sally Hodder echoed Mr Dell’s sentiment.
“Every time we do something, we’re looking to spread the word. We want to help educate communities throughout Australia and the world about PTS,” she said.
“It’s about education and de-stigmatising. We need to debunk the myths and say [PTS] is out there and it’s real.”
The convoy was a procession of military, firefighting, ambulance, police and support vehicles travelling through four states in October to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and support the Invictus Games.
The Southern Highlands procession also stopped at the Quest for Life Centre for morning tea with veterans and the community.
During the morning tea, attendees listened to several speeches and signed an Invictus Games flag.
Quest for Life CEO Petrea King said post-traumatic stress could happen to anyone, such as those who have experienced domestic violence, assault or abuse.
“The more we talk about it, the more we educate people about the consequences of trauma,” she said.
“Lots of people are carrying [post-traumatic stress] from childhood, from other experiences other than being on the frontline.”
Senior support for Quest for Life’s Moving Beyond Trauma program and former US canine officer Darren Wagner said whether it was an emergency services worker, a member of the army or a civilian, people living with PTS shared common ground.
“I think in time we will stand tall and say ‘we’ve all experienced the same thing’,” he said.
“We experience it differently, we have different coping strategies, different resilience abilities but it’s something we all share.”
For assistance, call Quest for Life on 1300 941 488, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline 13 11 14.