21 Jun Invisible Injuries
Former Australian Defence Force Commando Andy Fermo has a vision to create a holistic approach to supporting mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder for young veterans.
As part of a year-long PTSD national awareness campaign tour around Australia, Andy met with members of the Young Veterans Central Queensland in Gladstone earlier this month to talk about challenges facing ex-soldiers returning to their pre-deployment lives.
“It’s great to see that young veterans are receptive to the conversation of mental health, PTSD, and what they do in their own self-care plan to manage,” he said.
“But it’s important to remember that mental health is about being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy, the way we think, feel and develop relationships, and not merely the absence of a mental health condition.”
Andy was medically discharged from the defence force, and later diagnosed with PTSD, after two tours of Afghanistan and surviving an IED (improvised explosive device) roadside bomb explosion.
He co-founded Invisible Injuries, a not-for-profit support service, with his wife Claire, while at an “all-time low” and with his family essentially homeless.
“We are on a mission to help other young veterans seek support from vetted services,” he said.
“Through our tour we are connecting with ex-service organisations, first responders, support groups and specialists that are available in local areas.
“Our aim is to create a comprehensive resource of these services, groups and programs which will be available to individuals so they can create their own meaningful journey with their immediate support, to better their mental health.”
Andy said Invisible Injuries is seeking guest speakers to share their stories, and what they do for “positive mental health” on their podcast.
“We also invite ex-service organisations, service providers and anyone involved in that support space, to let us know what they do in their region to assist us in building our online database resource,” he said.
Post-tour, which will finish April 2022, Invisible Injuries will focus on providing holistic support services such as active breathing and mindful music workshops.
For more information on Invisible Injuries, including how you can support Andy’s national tour or get involved, visit www.invisibleinjuries.org.au.