Veterans show true grit this Veterans’ Health Week as mental wellness matters
From October 8th to 15th, 2023, Veterans’ Health Week was observed throughout Australia. Invictus Australia facilitated 66 local sporting events around the country with over 1,059 veterans getting active and connected. The chosen theme for this year was “Mental Wellness Matters,” a theme that underscores the critical significance of acknowledging and prioritising mental health as a crucial aspect of overall well-being.
Here at Invictus Australia, we know how beneficial sport can be to mental health. In fact, recent research conducted after the Invictus Games The Hague 2022 revealed that a remarkable 94.6% of participants experienced varying degrees of mental healing as a direct result of their participation. (Research Report: Rekindling the Power of Purpose; Voices from the Invictus Family)
We’d like to thank the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for helping fund these events, as well as our seven frontline staff who partnered with 15 national sporting organisations to bring this week to life. Here’s a small snapshot of some of the impactful events that Invictus Australia ran across the country;
showing true grit, in western australia
They ran, they crawled, they climbed – THEY DID IT!
It was Western Australia’s turn to get their True Grit on, conquering 10km and 32 obstacles, epitomising the Invictus spirit as they pushed through as a team to complete every challenge.
True Grit is the only Australian owned and operated military inspired obstacle course created by Australian special forces. It is the perfect mix of physical and mental challenge delivered through fun, fitness and friends to give racers of all ages and fitness levels a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Thanks also to the Invictus Games Foundation for their support of these events.
Surf & Serenity in South Australia
Ryan from The Surfers Journey created an amazing experience for our veterans in South Australia to learn to surf while benefitting from the restorative effects of the salt water, exercise and laughter. The idea behind ‘Surf Therapy’ is that it teaches you how to surf while immersing yourself in the elements, aiming to get you into a flow state to clear the mind and connect with your body. Our veterans of all abilities thoroughly enjoyed this day and I’m sure they can’t wait to Hang 10 again soon.
“I had never tried surfing before, but the instructors were patient, helpful and welcoming. The group was great, we didn’t need to talk about work, it was just nice to get away from it all. There’s something about the ocean that calms.”
It wouldn’t be Veteran’s Health Week without parkrun – an event that has become a tradition among the veteran community and its supporters. From Toowoomba to Torrens, Wodonga to Wheelers Hill and Lake Joondalup to Lake Burley Griffin, Team Veteran run, walked, pushed and rolled.
Team Veteran, a national walking and running group dedicated to inclusivity, rallied in impressive numbers at many of the 400 parkrun locations across Australia. parkrun, a free and community-driven initiative, offers an opportunity for participants of all backgrounds to come together on Saturday mornings for a 5km walk, jog, run, or to volunteer and spectate.
With no time limits and a culture that ensures no one finishes last, it’s a place where everyone, regardless of their pace or experience, can find a welcoming and supportive community to share the joy of physical activity and togetherness. It’s a testament to the power of a united community in promoting health and well-being for veterans and their families.
The NRL kicked on in Canberra!
A huge thanks must go to the Canberra Raiders and Battlefields to FootyFields for facilitating an incredible day at the ADFA Sports Facility for our Defence Members. We had Wheelchair NRL, skills training, and referee accreditation sessions.
Battlefields to Footyfields is an NRL initiative that provides nationally recognised training for current and ex-serving ADF members and their immediate family. The program provides a great opportunity to hone newfound skills, make long lasting connections and participate in something that gives a renewed sense of belonging.
Thank you NRL!
“This was an awesome day! Great work everyone coming together to make it happen.” Carol, veteran participant
passion for Pickleball
Did you know that pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world? Veterans and their families across the country have embraced this engaging sport, often described as a fusion of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Pickleball is both fun and challenging, and encourages an inclusive play environment making it perfect for all abilities and ages. Our veterans in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT had a ball on the court with plenty of laughs, comradery and competition this Veterans Health Week.
“I came here expecting to not enjoy it, I have since watched the last 5 finals on YouTube for tricks and tips! I’ll be back.” Chris, Veteran participant
Celebrating Veterans Health Week in Style in North Queensland!
Springfield, QLD was buzzing in October as Invictus Australia and Defence Health joined forces to create a day of pure excitement and fun for our local Defence Community!
This event had it all! From inflatable axe throwing to face painting, pickleball, table tennis, rowing, foosball, and even special activities for the little ones, thanks to Amberley Community Connect.
All of these amazing activities were brought together with the addition of some key ex-service organisations and community groups including RSL Queensland, Australian Military Wives Choir, Mates4Mates, Defence Australia and more!
“Great day – lots of fun and laughs the latter was more on the pickleball court.” Stephen, veteran participant
“Thank you greatly to all! Ares and I had a fantastic time.” – Daniel, veteran participant
Thank you to all who joined us this year. We didn’t just celebrate Veterans Health Week; we celebrated the strength and unity of our incredible Invictus community.
Looking to get involved in sport in your region? Connect with our staff through your regions Facebook group.
- ACT Local Facebook Group
- SA Local Facebook Group
- Sth East QLD Facebook group
- Nth NSW Local Facebook Group
- NSW Sth Coast Local Facebook Group
- Victoria Facebook Group
- WA Facebook Group
About Invictus Australia: Invictus Australia is the NFP responsible for organising the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. We carry on the legacy of the Games every day in local communities, as all veterans and their families can benefit from involvement with sporting communities, particularly ‘at risk’ veterans. As well as promoting the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport, Invictus Australia shines a light on the unique needs of younger veterans and the challenges they face as they transition from military to civilian life. Find out more at www.invictusaustralia.org