Veteran and Military Mental Health

Project Details

Military service is associated with a unique set of experiences that have implications for mental health. These experiences include operational deployment to conflict zones, peacekeeping deployments and humanitarian missions following disaster. This body of research is conducted as a series of competitively funded and commissioned projects and in collaboration with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defence. It examines four key themes:

  1. Common mental health outcomes following these experiences, including an examination of the clinical phenomenology of these mental health sequelae, and how these may differ from those following non military trauma
  2. Organisational, environmental and individual risk and resilience factors that influence mental health outcomes following military experiences
  3. Pathways to care for military veterans and uptake and engagement with clinical services.
  4. Interventions and service models for delivery of care to veterans with military related mental health problems.



  • Professor Sandy McFarlane and Dr Miranda van Hooff, Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies (University of Adelaide)
  • Professor Richard Bryant Centre for Traumatic Stress (UNSW)
  • Professor Malcolm Battersby Flinders University
  • Professor Virginia Lewis La Trobe University
  • Dr Monique Crane Macquarie University
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of Defence
  • Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service


Forbes, D., O’Donnell, ML., Bryant, R., Hodson, S., Morton, D., Battersby, M., Forbes, A., (2016). Optimising mental health and quality of life for Australia’s military personnel and veterans with PTSD. NHMRC Partnership Project Grant in collaboration with DVA and Defence.

Forbes, D.,  Couineau, A-L.,  Lloyd, D., Wade, D., Nixon, R., 2015-2016 Sustainability of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) treatment for PTSD in VVCS.  Department of Veterans’ Affairs Strategic Research Fund,

Forbes, D., O’Donnell, ML., Lewis, V., Crane, M., Dell, L., Department of Defence - Longitudinal Study of Reslience. (2014).  Australian Department of Defence

Forbes, D., Varker, T. & O’Donnell, M. (2014) Development, Delivery & Evaluation of Anger, Aggression and PTSD Clinical Intervention and Training to Selected Defence Mental Health Professionals. Department of Defence

O’Donnell, ML., Dell, L., Fletcher, S., Couineau, AL., Forbes, D. (2014). The Australian Defence Force Mental Health Screening Continuum Framework: Department of Defence: Canberra.

Wade, D., Fletcher, S., Howard, A., Forbes, D. (2013). Gender differences in mental health among serving and ex-serving military personnel: A review of the literature. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Wade, D., Varker, T., Kartal, D., Hetrick, S., Forbes, D. (2013) Systematic review and meta-analysis of gender differences in outcomes following trauma-focussed Interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Research Outcomes

Forbes, D., O’Donnell, M.L., Brand, R, M., Korn, S., Creamer, M., McFarlane, A.C., Sim, M.R., Forbes, A.B. & Hawthorne, G. (2016). The Long Term Mental Health Impact of Peacekeeping: Prevalence and Predictors of Psychiatric Disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry Open,2, 32-37 doi: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.001321.

Lloyd, D., Couineau, A.L., Hawkins, K., Kartal, D., Nixon, R., Perry, D. & Forbes, D. (2015)   Preliminary Outcomes of Implementing Cognitive Processing Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Across a National Veterans’ Treatment Service. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Varker, T., Forbes, D., Dell, L., Weston, A., Merlin, T., Hodson, S., O’Donnell, M.L (2015). Rapid evidence assessment: Increasing the transparency of an emerging methodology. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

McFarlane, A. C., & Forbes, D. (2015)   What has been learned about the psychological injuries of war in a century?  The journey from moral inferiority to PTSD   Medical Journal of Australia 202(7)  doi: 10.5694/mja15.00201

Lloyd, D., Nixon, R., Varker, T., Elliott, P., Perry, D., Bryant, R.A., Creamer, M. & Forbes, D. (2014). Comorbidity in the prediction of Cognitive Processing Therapy treatment outcomes for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 237-240.

Forbes, D., Alkemade, N., Hopcraft, D., Hawthorne, G., O’Halloran, P., Elhai, J.D., McHugh, A.F., Novaco, R.W., Bryant, R.A. & Lewis, V. (2014) Evaluation of the Dimensions of Anger Reactions - 5 (DAR-5) Scale in combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 830-835.

Forbes, D. & Bryant, R.A. (2013). When the violence of war comes home. The Lancet, 381: 883-884.

Forbes, D., Lloyd, D., Nixon, R., Elliott, P., Varker, T., Perry, D., Bryant, R.A. & Creamer, M. (2012). Multisite randomized controlled trial of cognitive processing therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in a naturalistic setting. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26, 442-452.

Research Group

Trauma Research Group

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


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