Transition to civilian life

Transitioning to Civilian Life

Many former service people find transitioning into civilian life challenging. They may have little experience in matters civilians take for granted, like navigating the healthcare system or finding accommodation. It might be difficult to find work or friends outside the Defence force. And the civilian way of doing things may feel completely at odds to what they’re used to from their time in service.

“You’ve got control over your own life, but it’s hard, because it’s very scary when, for almost eight years, you’ve been told what to do, what to wear, where to be and at what time. Suddenly you have to make all those decisions for yourself.” – Ashlea, veteran

With support from RSL Queensland, Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) is conducting the Veteran Reintegration Study, an investigation of the cultural and psychological impact of transitioning. After interviewing 100 veterans, the study has identified common themes and challenges faced by transitioning service personnel.

Using these results, the study team is currently developing a tool to determine how ready service people are to transition and identify those who may have difficulty adjusting.

The final stage will focus on developing a reintegration training program to provide targeted support at an earlier stage to those who may find the transition to civilian life challenging.

The Veteran Reintegration Study is expected to continue until 2020.

“We must do better for ex-service personnel who struggle to adjust to civilian life.” – Dr Madeline Romaniuk
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