The wife of a traumatized army medic who tried to take her own life “more than 30 times” stuns an ABC question-and-answer panel as she criticizes the lack of services for vets and reveals the desperate efforts needed to keep him alive.
- Veteran has attempted suicide ‘more than 30 times’
- His wife has saved him on multiple occasions.
- Lifeline 13 11 14, beyond the blue 1300 224 636
The devoted wife of a traumatized Army medic has revealed the desperate efforts needed to keep her suicidal husband alive amid a lack of veterans services.
Alison and Dave opened up on ABC’s Q&A show Monday night about their harrowing experiences after Dave served for Australia in East Timor.
Dave said he was haunted by the things he saw during his service as a soldier and a medic, and has tried to take his own life “more than 30 times.”
Fighting back tears, Alison said that after her latest suicide attempt, she tied herself to her husband while they waited nine days for a bed to become available at an inpatient care facility.
“For nine days I had to tie myself to my husband so he wouldn’t have any more attempts to end his life at night while we were sleeping,” she told the stunned panel.
Dave said he has horrible nightmares “every night.”
“I have pain all over my body constantly, even my eyelids hurt,” he said.
When asked by host Stan Grant what it was like for her, Alison replied, “If I was just a wife, that would be nice, but I’m Dave’s career, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor, chemist, everything.”
“I cut him off when he’s hanging from the ceiling, I CPR him when he overdoses, and I’ve done it many times.”
Alison said the couple had received help from the Australian Veterans Center but since it closed recently “we have nowhere to go”.
“There is no longer impatient care in Australia for disabled suicide veterans,” he said.
The Australian Veterans Center closed its doors last month after almost 12 years of operation, and became insolvent after its main funder withdrew support.
The service handled up to 600 clients at a time across Australia, advocating for veterans and helping them and their families navigate healthcare, financial support and employment services.
Alison offered panel member and Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh an invitation to be a guest at the couple’s home so he can understand what they are going through.
Couple Alison and Dave (pictured) spoke on ABC’s Monday night Q&A about their harrowing experiences after Dave served in the military in East Timor.
Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh said: “It is abundantly clear that governments on both sides have dropped the ball on how we support our veteran community when they need it.”
“(To) experience first-hand the crisis that resulted in your government’s neglect of Australian veterans and their families by closing the Australian Veterans Center,” he said.
‘I don’t want you to send your secretary or your stranger, I would like you to come to our house.’
Alison said the VA Center had meant ‘everything’ to many veterans and had saved lives, including Dave’s.
“To you, he might be Joe Blow, but he’s my husband, who signed up and served this country and means everything to me,” she said.
A stunned Mr Keogh said he was sorry for what the couple had endured and thanked Dave for his service and Alison for ‘looking after him’.
“It’s very clear that governments on both sides have dropped the ball on how we support our veteran community when they need it,” he said.
Keogh said he was happy to “get in touch” with the couple after the show.
Stan Grant said there were “no words” for what Alison and Dave had been through.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact: Life line 13 11 14 and Beyond the blue 1300 224 636