A FREE online course is set to help local returned servicemen and women deal with mental health issues and suicide prevention.
The federal government's Suicide Prevention Start program consists of two 90-minute online seminars, which are available to whomever has contact with, or supports the veteran community.
The program is run by the government in conjunction with the Returned Services League and will be run by Open Arms.
Tamworth Legacy president Greg Roese said the program was long overdue.
"Something like this has been desperately needed for quite sometime," Mr Roese told the Leader.
"I'm pleased the government is finally starting to support veterans and in particular veterans' families in this area.
"Honestly, it's a long-time overdue."
Mr Roese said everyone had a role to play in suicide prevention and the courses would help them navigate "the tough talks".
"Everyone can make a difference when it comes to suicide prevention," he said.
"Quite often it's close friends of veterans that have a good understanding of what another veteran might be going through.
"Just being there to intervene at quite a desperate time in a veteran's life makes all the difference.
"We will certainly be encouraging people to take part and get involved because it may just help save someone's life."
Federal veterans affairs minister Darren Chester said the course was further proof of the government's commitment to supporting returned servicemen and women.
"Suicide is a national tragedy that affects many of us and this free, self-paced program provides practical guidance on the signs that someone may be contemplating suicide, and how to connect them to help and support," Mr Chester said.
"Providing access to this free online training is an example of our commitment to improving the mental health and wellbeing of our veterans and their families, and I encourage all those in the ex-service community to complete this potentially life-saving training."
For more information regarding the courses, visit www.openarms.gov.au or call 1800 011 046.
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