Supporting Defence families and partners | Mates4Mates

15 May 2024

It’s National Families Week and Mates4Mates is proud to recognise the partners and families that make up our Mates4Mates community.

Mates4Mates provides support to partners and families of current and ex-serving members, helping them to reconnect and recover.

At Mates4Mates, we are proud to have created a safe space that recognises the physical, mental, and social impacts of service for both veterans and family members, acknowledging that partners and families experience their own journey within the Defence Force and may require support.

Many of our staff across Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are from all areas of the Defence community, whether they are veterans themselves, partners, siblings or children of veterans, and are experienced in helping veterans and those who are currently serving navigate their recovery.

It is these personal ties to the Defence Force that help to make Mates4Mates an understanding and supportive environment. We know that the impacts of service can be difficult and can significantly affect your health and wellbeing, as well as those around you, and we are here to offer support.

Mates4Mates Operational Services Manager, Elyshia Ray is the partner of a current-serving Defence Force member, currently preparing to say goodbye to her husband for a 12-month deployment to the Middle East.

Elyshia said that following her family’s experience with deployment, she has realised it is finding support and a sense of community that makes all the difference.

“As a Defence family, we have moved all over Australia with our two children and it can feel like you have no control over even the small things in your life,” Elyshia said.

“You join a community of people, form fast friendships, and then say goodbye two years later. You live apart from your spouse for months on end every year and watch their mental and physical health take a toll under the stress of obligation, duty, and service.”

“Yet every day, you feel honoured to be part of this community. The true support of the Defence community is the small gestures of genuine care that show you that support is there,” Elyshia said.

"Mates4Mates have created a safe space that recognises the physical, mental, and social impacts of service for both veterans and family members, acknowledging that partners and families experience their own journey within the Defence Force and may require support.”

Mates4Mates provides a range of social connection activities including BBQs, bikes rides and hikes, arts and crafts, and trivia nights, helping families to engage with like-minded people within the community who understand the struggles of Defence. 

Mates4Mates has also developed the Partners and Carers Program, designed to support partners and carers of veterans and current-serving Defence Force personnel whose lives have been impacted by service and provide them with strategies to support their own mental health and wellbeing.

Veterans and families can access further mental health support at Mates4Mates through our psychologists, counsellors and social workers who are experienced in working with Defence Force personnel and families.

If you know a veteran or family member who needs support, or you’re looking to find a supportive community who understands what it means to be part of Defence, reach out to Mates4Mates on 1300 4 MATES (62 837) for a confidential chat.

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Supporting Defence families and partners | Mates4Mates

It’s National Families Week and Mates4Mates is proud to recognise the partners and families that make up our Mates4Mates community.