Breaking the Stigma surrounding our Veterans - Michael's Story

Posted by Top Livin on

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Michael Addis and I'm 25 years old. I have four brothers and grew up and currently living in Western Australia.

What are you up to these days?

I currently work at ACU, developing and delivering support to current and future student veterans.  I completed a Diploma of Community Services in 2018 and I’m completing a Bachelor of Nursing at the end of this year.

Last week I received an offer to commence Medicine from the start of 2020 back home in Western Australia.

What's your background (military service, deployment experience if any, career highlights)? 

I joined the Army straight out of high school and served as a Rifleman at 8/9 RAR in Brisbane until November 2016. Deployed to Afghanistan in 2015 for 7 months as part of FPE-4 (Force Protection Element) where I spent 3 months in Kandahar and 4 months outside of Kabul. Enjoyed my experiences and view my deployment as a once in a lifetime opportunity that has helped motivate me through my studies.

As a Veteran have you faced any personal or professional challenges since transitioning from the ADF? 

Yes, finding employment and balancing studies has been challenging. This is challenging for most students, however leaving the ADF feels like you have been thrown back down to the bottom of the food chain. Losing your identity can feel very disenfranchising and deflating.

Through clinical placements and my work within the community, I have seen many veterans struggling to overcome adversities that culminate into severe problems. I believe that even minimal support during high risk time periods can make all the difference in a vulnerable person’s life.

ASVA (Australian Student Veterans Association) provided me with the opportunity to attend NatCon in the US at the start of 2019. This was held at Disney Coronado Springs Resort and has provided me with priceless opportunities. I am currently employed at ACU as a Student Veteran Admin Officer as a result of ASVA’s work.

What do you wish the general public were more aware of about Veterans?

I believe some people stereotype veterans as being old, largely male, and incapable of getting through uni. This is far from the truth. Most veterans are young, reliable, resilient, and compassionate. These attributes are key to being successful in all areas of life and professions. 


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