Three Concord Hospital clinicians enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with veterans as mental health responders during the Invictus Games.

Mental Health responders support Invictus athletes

November 2018

Three Concord Hospital clinicians enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with veterans as mental health responders during the Invictus Games.

Three Concord Hospital clinicians enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with veterans as mental health responders during the Invictus Games.

As Concord Hospital prepares to call itself home to an Australian-first clinical service to support veterans, three Sydney Local Health District clinicians have enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with veterans as mental health responders during the Invictus Games last month.

Concord Hospital clinical psychologists Lil Vrklevski, Meredith Kearney and mental health nurse Bruce Robertson were part of the official Games' medical services team and as mental health responders were on hand during the events to offer support, crisis intervention and containment for Invictus Games participants.

Meredith Kearney, who has worked with patients including veterans at Concord Hospital for 27 years, said it was great to get to know some of the veterans and provide a supportive environment through counselling and helping to manage actual and potential stressors including triggers for PTSD.

"It helped us to understand the physical and mental challenges veterans face on a daily basis - invaluable for our work in a Mental Health and hospital setting.

"My grandfather was a surgeon in both WWI and WWII so I understand the need to offer ongoing support for the sacrifices that they and their families have made.

"It was very inspiring to see the tenacity and resilience of the competitors and to observe first-hand the value of adaptive sport as a vehicle for rehabilitation."

The District's Director of Psychology Lil Vrklevski is among the multidisciplinary planning group for Concord Hospital's National Centre for Veterans' Healthcare and said the experience was invaluable to gain understandings about the defence culture and the strong sense of connection veterans have to their units.

"Adding mental health responders to the medical services teams meant that the issue of mental health care sat alongside physical health. This was a very powerful message.

"I finished the week in awe of the bravery and courage displayed by so many young men and women. Emotionally it was a week of mixed emotions - sadness, joy, pride and amazement but it was a privilege to be involved."


The Australian first model for the National Centre for Veterans' Healthcare was recently recognised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester who announced $6.7million in funding for a residential accommodation facility at Concord Hospital.


The accommodation will support veterans who may travel from regional areas to access the services at the National Centre for Veterans' Healthcare.

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Page Last Updated: 26 November, 2018