August 30, 2018

Holyoake has received funding from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to develop a program called DRUMBEAT for Veterans in collaboration with veterans and veteran support groups. This customised program harnesses the universal principles of the evidence-based DRUMBEAT program to engage veterans for better outcomes.

Veterans who have done so much to serve our country, need our support to transition smoothly into civilian life. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that we can do far better.

An estimated 46% of Australian Defence Force (ADF) who transitioned from full-time service within the past 5 years, met 12-month diagnostic criteria for a mental disorder. Just over 20% of transitioned ADF experienced suicidal ideation, plans or attempts in the last 12 months.*

Research also indicates that about 64% of transitioned ADF had experienced concerns about their mental health in their lifetime.*

DRUMBEAT for Veterans is an innovative way to reach out to veterans more effectively. It aims to help participants connect with other veterans, learn tools to cope with stress and to transition effectively, and to support each other in a fun and engaging environment. The first pilot of this program started on August 20 and will run for 8 weeks.

Adam Gale – a participating veteran in the first pilot said: “Drumming makes conversations easier. This hasn’t been easy for me as I try to move forward with my life, to change, to do new things, to connect and to make sense of things. DRUMBEAT gives us the space and opportunity to do this.”

The 2016 Senate enquiry into the issue of suicide by veterans and the adequacy of support services for ex-personnel revealed that both the ADF and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs agree that early identification and treatment of mental ill-health is essential to achieve the best outcomes for veterans.

DRUMBEAT is already making a positive impact on veterans in the USA. One veteran, who is part of a drumming circle in Texas, said “It really helps. You can come in to drum and to talk to guys just like you, and you can just let the stress go. You leave with a fresh start for the next day.”

For more information please call Renee Hine on 9416 4444 or email

*National Mental Health Commission. Review into the Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Services available to current and former serving ADF members and their families. Sydney 2017.