Last week, hundreds of veterans gathered outside Parliament House in Melbourne to support the announcement of a Royal Commission into veteran suicides.
The event was initially organized as a protest to call for the commission, but the organisers changed it to a vigil after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the launch of the commission on April 18.
I made sure to speak with the war heroes in attendance and give a voice to the friends and family of those who are no longer with us.
While I was there, I met a woman who shared a heartbreaking story about her brother, who fell into a downward spiral of mental health struggles and addiction after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
According to the Prime Minister,
“The royal commission will have a mandate to examine the systemic issues and any common themes and past deaths by suicide of Australian Defence Force members and veterans.”
There’s no doubt that many are looking forward to what this Royal Commission reveals and what future changes and supports it will spur for those returning home from service.
At the vigil, some veterans also shared their disgust with the Victorian government capping the Anzac Day dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne this year: