MENTAL health and mateship messages were at the core of Daylesford's Vietnam Veterans' Day commemorations to channel greater support for those wrestling post-traumatic stress.
Veterans' Day allowed Daylesford Returned and Services League the chance to put a spotlight on the issue for all defence and emergency services personnel.
Daylesford RSL sub-branch secretary Jan Pengilley said for too long Vietnam veterans struggled with post-traumatic stress and the stigma of their mental injuries.
But Ms Pengilley said while this was most widely known as an issue for Vietnam veterans, post-traumatic stress affected all veterans, including young veterans from fields like Afghanistan.
"We've focused a lot on mateship because Veterans' Day can often be a difficult day for Vietnam Vets. It evokes a lot of sad memories and memories that aren't always good from what they have seen and experienced," Ms Pengilley said.
"We want them to feel the support here. It was a good atmosphere."
Military Brotherhood Military Motorcycle Club hosted a barbecue with all funds raised to support work in helping veterans who experience post-traumatic stress.
Daylesford RSL's membership is predominantly Vietnam Veterans with a few younger defence force veterans and service members from the police and Country Fire Authority.
The branch's wider focus on post-traumatic stress also reflects the legacy of Ballarat's former special forces soldier and firefighter Nathan Shanahan, who launched the Walking Off the War Within campaign. Mr Shanahan was a fierce advocate in rallying attention to those silently struggling with post-traumatic stress and depression until his death by suicide in late 2016.
Walking Off the War Within events supporting emergency services and defence personnel are now hosted in Warrnambool, Ballarat, Canberra, Mildura, Kalgoorlie and across the Northern Territory.
Meanwhile, Vietnam Veterans' Day is held on the date of the Battle of Long Tan. New movie Danger Close features the actions of then-army private Bill 'Yank' Akell.
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