New research funded by Australian Rotary Health will look at how children are impacted when a parent from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with hopes to inform a new intervention for ADF families.

Katrina Streatfeild from the University of Newcastle was awarded a Rotary District 9790/RSL Clubs of Victoria & Australian Rotary Health PhD Scholarship this year to conduct research to understand the experiences and support needs of children under the care of ADF parents with PTSD.

“By the very nature of their work, Defence Force Personnel can be exposed to situations and events that place them at high risk of PTSD. Coupled with long deployment periods and separation from family and friends, the nature of ADF life can expose its members to unique mental and physical health challenges,” Katrina said.

“We aim to develop an increased and rich understanding of the mental health needs of the wider population of children with veteran parents and carers experiencing PTSD in Australia, and particularly how veteran parents with PTSD and their partners can be assisted to help the children in their care.”

Katrina’s research will fall under the umbrella of an existing research project called vSHADE, funded by the Defence Health Foundation, which explores Australian ADF Veteran mood and alcohol use problems, and the impact of web-based interventions for this group.

“This knowledge will inform the development of a specifically targeted, internet-based tool, accessible to ADF families across Australia who wish to access education, support, and intervention strategies for parents, children and the family.”

Katrina says this research will also highlight the lived experience of this client group, contributing to community education about and de-stigmatisation of PTSD.

“This particular research project creates an opportunity to directly feed new knowledge into an intervention platform that is accessible to families who are seeking support with the end aim of improving mental health outcomes for children in this population.”

We wish Katrina all the best with her research.


Media contact: Jessica Cooper – (02) 8837 1900 or


ADF photo credits

Photographer: CPL Casey Forster


Disclaimer: Australian Rotary Health does not own the rights to this image and has not made any modifications.