It's a question not many of us are asked or even think about, 'What thoughts come to mind when you hear the word 'veteran'?
A common perception of a veteran is generational in age and experience with perhaps images of World War II service men and women coming to mind.
As our organisation aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health, these next few weeks in the lead up to Remembrance Day, we are focusing on breaking the stigma surrounding a specific group that does so much for our country and yet receives so little acknowledgement in who they actually are.
To bring this issue to the forefront of conversation, we have joined forces with the incredible team at the Australian Student Veterans Association (ASVA) with the common goal of breaking the stigma surrounding our veterans - 'who' they are - 'what' they look like - 'how' they live outside of the service - we are putting a face to some of these incredible service men and women.
Each day up until Remembrance Day, we will be sharing a story from a veteran who after their time in the Australian Defence Force, had reached out to the ASVA for support in integrating back into the community and more specifically, back into studies to help grow their skill set.
The ASVA was founded after recognising a large gap between veterans wanting and able to further their studies and skill sets, and universities and learning institutions recognising the value and experience a veteran could bring to the course and to the campus in general. The stigma surrounding veterans was playing a large part in creating apprehension from both sides.
"The Australian Student Veterans Association is a veteran-focused charity which was founded by a few mates on a university campus in 2017 to increase the economic opportunity of Australia’s Veterans through education opportunities and employment outcomes." Explains CEO of ASVA and veteran, Matthew Wyatt-Smith.
"Service within the Australian Defence Force can be one of the most rewarding careers imaginable, however not all military roles equip members with the qualifications required for meaningful employment in the civilian world."
The ASVA's mission is to 'promote the academic, and professional development of student veterans at university through advocacy and supporting resources' which that in itself is a valuable contribution to helping to break the stigma and common perceptions people can have regarding veterans and their capabilities outside of the service.
"Our Veteran community is one of Australia's greatest assets, though the labour market is rapidly evolving and often demands qualifications, so post-service education can be a great way to upskill and launch into a successful and equally rewarding professional and post-service career." Said Matthew.
We encourage everyone to take a moment out of their day, each day, leading up to Remembrance Day and read the stories of the veterans we will be sharing.
We encourage you to really look at the photos of these inspiring individuals both in and out of their uniforms and not only appreciate the selfless acts they have done for their country but also the amazing work they are continuing to do, in many different industries, outside of service.
On behalf of the LIVIN family, we thank the group of veterans who have taken time to share their stories with us and to all veterans who have devoted a valuable part of their lives to serving others.
LIVIN Co-Founder Casey Lyons with ASVA CEO, Matthew Wyatt-Smith and LIVIN Pyschologist, Luke Foster as they discuss the incredible work of the ASVA for our veterans.
Read more on Matthew's Story.
If you are struggling and feel you need to speak up, check out our Get Help page for organisations that can help. If you would like more information about the work of ASVA, click here to check out their website.