Our story

Who we are

Soldier On was established in 2012 by John Bale, Dr Danielle Clout and Cavin Wilson, following the death of a friend on deployment in Afghanistan. The aim of this new not-for-profit organisation was to support Defence personnel injured physically or psychologically in the line of duty.

In just a decade, Soldier On has significantly expanded its programs, services and advocacy work to become a lifeline for current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their families.

Our fully integrated support services enable Defence families to build social connections, rewarding careers and mental and physical resilience after a military career ends.

More than 10,000 Australians currently benefit from our evidence-based, trauma informed care, designed in consultation with Defence personnel, veterans and their families.

Our holistic approach allows us to do everything from helping jobseekers write a CV and connect them with one of the more than 200 leading Australian businesses who have committed to The Pledge Employment Program, to enhance their skills with education and training.

Our calendar of free community, social and sporting activities builds enduring social connections, while our psychological services deliver critical support for those struggling to see a way forward.

Soldier On’s deep insights into the challenges facing the Defence community, and how best to overcome them, are grounded in our people – many of us are veterans ourselves, or partners and family members of past and current ADF personnel.

What we do

Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression can be common experiences when a military career ends. The legacy of this hidden plight is an unacceptably high suicide rate among ex-service personnel, and irreparably damaged families.

Soldier On helps current and former Defence families build new careers, enhance their skills, maintain physical and mental health, and reconnect with family and community, so they can lead meaningful civilian lives.

Soldier On has bases in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hunter & Central Coast, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Current and former Defence families are welcome at any of our centres, and some of our services can be provided by phone or online.

In tandem with the critical support we deliver directly to Defence families, Soldier On is a leading voice in the prevention of systemic issues leading to veteran suicide.

Our submissions to public inquiries including The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, and awareness raising activities such as the high-profile March On challenge, ensure the significant issues facing our Defence families are front of mind with the nation’s decision-makers.

Who we support

Soldier On’s support services are available to those currently serving or who have served in the Royal Australian Navy, Army, and Air Force at any time since 1990, including reservists.

All of our services are also available to the immediate family* of current and former ADF personnel who have made huge sacrifices by putting their professional and personal lives on hold during postings or have become unofficial carers for personnel experiencing an emotional or physical injury.

Immediate family* includes:

  • Spouse
  • De facto
  • Partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Sibling
  • Child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner.
  • Those related to the current or ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship.

Why we do what we do

Imagine what it would be like if your whole world suddenly changed – you’d lost the job you loved, needed to find a new place to live and saw your close-knit social network crumble. Your sense of identity and belonging had been turned upside down, and a niggling sense of anxiety or depression just wouldn’t shift.

This is what faces many Australian Defence Force personnel who’ve taken off their uniform for the last time and are trying to reintegrate into civilian life.

Tragically, the legacy of this hidden plight is an unacceptably high suicide rate among ex-service personnel, and irreparably damaged families.

Australia’s Defence community has made a huge sacrifice for our country, and Soldier On is committed to ensuring they are not deserted in their time of need. We know that by properly supporting the exit from military service, lives can be saved and Defence family breakdowns prevented.

Our mission is to deliver evidence-based programs and services to ensure Australia’s Defence families enjoy happy, healthy, meaningful lives – during and after military service.