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John Duncan has proudly served his country for the last 26 years in the Australian Army.

He has dedicated his life for our freedom and has sacrificed his health and well being for our country.

Thankfully, after struggling with his wounds of service, John’s found solace and purpose through art.

This is his story…

Our veterans and emergency service personnel continuously put their lives on the line to protect us and our nation.

Right now, there is an alarming number of veterans and emergency service personnel silently crying out for help, feeling alone, isolated and defeated. It is our duty to protect them and provide them support and comfort during their time of need.

Through vital research, Art Therapy and well being programs, The Road Home provides a safe and supportive space for our veterans, emergency personnel and their families.

We need your help to continue providing vital support to our veterans and emergency service personnel. People like John Duncan.

An honourable veteran, John has served in the Australian Army for the past 26 years.

After signing up at the young age of 18, John has spent over half of his life serving his country and helping to keep us and our loved ones feel safe, both here and overseas.

Unfortunately, his many years of service has taken its toll on John and he has been admitted multiple times to the Jamie Larcombe Centre, a specialised facility for veterans, in a quest to restore his mental health.

Feeling like he was at a breaking point, John was struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I felt shattered and I needed help,” John said.

Through John’s stay in the Jamie Larcombe Centre he was introduced to art activities by The Road Home’s Visual Arts Tutor Kaz Peterson.

“I started practicing art when I was in Jamie Larcombe and found it was the only thing that calmed my mind and made me feel at ease,” John said.

“I began practicing art each Monday and got right into it, so I started teaching myself by watching videos and immersing myself in the art world, which significantly helped with my struggles.

“Through art I’ve learnt that I can still find some purpose in life. It won’t be the same as what I’ve come from but I can still find something.”

“The art trolley service seems to ignite or re-ignite an interest in drawing, painting or art, that continues even when the patient is discharged. I’m often asked for my recommendations for the best artist materials and tools to buy because patients plan to continue to be creative at home,” Kaz said.

John’s experience is already making an impact on others.

“A lot of people struggle with purpose; I think this has taught me not to limit myself. I’ve learnt I can still do amazing things and I can still have an impact on peoples’ lives, whether I’m in the Army or not. Maybe through this I may change a few people’s thoughts around art and its effect on well being.

“When I was in Jamie Larcombe, I had a couple of people who wouldn’t normally draw come out and start drawing next to me. I found by just doing that, I was helping others – and it felt good.”

 

Karin Foxwell, as The Road Home’s Art Therapist, knows first-hand the impact that working with veterans in a psycho therapeutic environment can have.

“Through Art Therapy, where trust is developed one-on-one through the creative arts process; personal meaning, understanding and change can occur in their lives,” Karin said.

Thanks to the gifts of our generous donors, we are supporting Holly Bowen-Salter, a researcher working tirelessly for better outcomes for our veterans and emergency service personnel.

Holly is a dedicated researcher who received one of our PhD Scholarship grants for her Australian-first research on the benefits of Art Therapy.

Her research aim is to see Art Therapy become a prescribed therapy for our veterans and emergency service personnel suffering from silent injuries like Post-Traumatic Stress.

“I’ve already seen the impact Art Therapy has made on our veterans and emergency service personnel. They are expressing themselves through forms of art, rather than words,” Holly said.

“But more still needs to be done.”

With additional funding, you can help us ensure that more people are receiving the lifesaving activities and therapies available to John in his time of need.

“From my experience, art participation is very important, and it would mean the world to me and many others to be able to access more resources,” John said.

“I don’t know what my life would be like if it wasn’t for art.”

With your kind gift, our research and well being programs will continue to help our veterans and emergency service personnel in need.