‘Is the Australian War Memorial a place of healing?‘ Pearls and Irritations, 23 May 2019
Article by retired Canberra GP medical practitioner, with 25 years’ clinical experience in treating psychological trauma.
For those with untreated or unresolved distress, especially PTSD, however, it is quite inappropriate to suggest that a visit to the Memorial is necessarily therapeutic. It is likely to be unhelpful in triggering vivid memories. To justify the expansion of the Memorial on therapeutic grounds is a further betrayal of veterans not receiving adequate clinical therapy, and of family survivors of veteran suicide. A portrayal of warfare which devalues the price that veterans and others pay will ultimately increase the risks of future Defence Force personnel suffering the same fate. Do we not owe them a duty of care to use our resources to reduce rather than increase that risk? Spending $498 million to display more of the tools of warfare does not do that.