New Young Warriors Program at Albany RSL the first of its kind

Campbell WilliamsonThe West Australian
RSL Albany welfare officer Steve Morrow is hoping that the Young Warriors Program can help more young veterans feel supported.
Camera IconRSL Albany welfare officer Steve Morrow is hoping that the Young Warriors Program can help more young veterans feel supported. Credit: Campbell Williamson

Albany’s RSL sub-branch is on a new mission to support younger veterans who are struggling to transition back to civilian life.

Returning Australian Defence Force members face a heightened rate of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide, with younger members less likely to maintain links with the ADF or support groups.

Albany RSL welfare officer Steve Morrow has started the Young Warriors Program — an initiative supported by the Albany RSL and Pivot Support Services.

“What we wanted to do is to try to make the RSL more relevant to what we describe as our younger warriors, so our 30-50-year-olds,” Mr Morrow said. “The idea is for it to be a drop-in centre — not to replicate services that are already available — but more to just to have a chat and to open people up to the idea that the RSL can help.”

Mr Morrow served with the ADF for 25 years, starting with the Army Reserves in 1986 before commencing full-time service from 2000 to 2007. He was medically discharged in 2011, struggling with shoulder and knee problems.

He said it was a shame that some younger veterans did not see the RSL as a particularly relevant option for their age group.

“I’ve been to a couple of RSLs and I was the only one there with a full set of teeth and no hearing aid and it didn’t really appeal to me,” Mr Morrow said.

“It’s just about having a chat to see how people are travelling. That’s our main goal, to start that conversation.”

The free program is available from 9am to 11.30am on Mondays at RSL Albany.

Call Mr Morrow on 0448 796 144.

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