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Our Region, Our People: Meet Andrew

Published 30 October 2023

The Oasis Townsville helps veteran impacted by homelessness and substance misuse turn life around

The Oasis Townsville team member Andrew Bligh is committed to helping veterans navigate challenges in their life.

A veteran experiencing homelessness, substance use, and loss of connection with his family and community has received life-changing help from The Oasis Townsville.

The swift actions of the team allowed the man, in his 20s, to get immediate medical attention, including a short stay in a southeast Queensland detox centre, along with safe, temporary accommodation, to start turning his life around.

And now, the veteran is back at the detox centre as a mentor to help ensure other program attendees have a remarkable journey too.

The Oasis Townsville team member Andrew Bligh said the veteran’s journey was nothing short of extraordinary.

“The veteran had a successful outcome, with the veteran able to complete his initial detox program and also reconnect with his family,” Mr Bligh said.

“He spent his birthday at the facility during his initial treatment term, so The Oasis team called to wish him a happy birthday. He was very happy and told us it was the first time anyone had remembered his birthday in quite a while.”

During that call, the veteran told the team: “I am now so happy due to The Oasis team’s work, which I will never forget.”

Mr Bligh said the veteran had chosen to undertake another short stay at the detox centre to allow him to take on an additional role as a mentor.

“When he came to The Oasis he was extremely unwell. Our planners were able to quickly organise accommodation and food vouchers through referrals, and then link him with services to help him begin his detox journey.

“Over that week, the team worked closely with the veteran and rehab facilities throughout Queensland to find and secure a place for him, and the best outcome occurred when he was placed in a rehab and mental health facility close to his family.

“The team liaised with local services and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Defence to arrange transportation to the facility for the veteran, his belongings, and his vehicle.”  

The Oasis Townsville is a place where veterans (serving and non-serving), their families, and people in the community can seek information and referrals to the best services and participate in social activities and events.

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) funded the Primary Mental Health Care Ex-Australian Defence Force Suicide Prevention Program, which was run by The Oasis Townsville for veterans facing challenges in their life.

Mr Bligh said the organisation helped people navigate their challenges by identifying options in the community and mainstream systems to cater to their individual needs.

“We know the best and most appropriate services in the region for veterans’ needs,” he said.

“Our community centre (Homebase) offers a range of free or low-cost activities and events, which allow for connection and sharing information to the community.

“We also have a group of veteran-owned or run businesses that offer roles for veterans, their families, and connections to employment organisations that offered other employment options.”

Last updated: 30 October 2023