GO2 Health doctor Dr Kieran McCarthy transitioned from the military in 2014. He uses his first hand experience and medical expertise to help others navigate the challenges often encountered when leaving military service. 

Leaving the military

How you leave the military may affect how smoothly you transition. For people who weren’t ready to leave, especially if they have been medically discharged, it is perhaps unsurprising that transitioning feels challenging. Even if leaving was your choice, the differences between civilian and military life can still prove to be a challenge.

Challenges with leaving the military

The team at GO2 Health regularly sees former military personnel struggling with issues including:

  • The loss of team connections – civilian life generally does not offer the deep level of responsibility for and trust in mates found in the military
  • Boredom – people who have enjoyed positive experiences and exciting deployments may find that civilian careers don’t offer this level of excitement
  • Lack of understanding – civilians generally don’t appreciate the day to day routines in the military or the complex experiences of deployment
  • Motivation problems – without the discipline and routine of the military some people feel ‘lost’ and unsupported
  • Health issues – military life can be physically and mentally tough and leaves some people with ongoing conditions or pain to manage

Tips for a smooth transition

Dr Kieran McCarthy offers these suggestions to people transitioning from the military: 

  • Exercise
  • Take ownership of your problems and their solutions
  • Think about how connected you want to remain – some choose to engage with former military colleagues, others prefer a complete break from the military
  • If you feel like a ‘victim’ seek help to reframe your thinking to a more useful perspective
  • Accept where you are in life – especially if you are managing pain or other chronic conditions
  • Find purpose – if you can’t work, find volunteer positions
  • Create your own routine – stay busy, get out of the house, connect with the community and (again) get plenty of exercise
  • Involve those close to you – managing ongoing physical and mental health conditions will be more successful if your family and close friends are involved

When you need more support

We encourage you to make the most of the great support offered by the DVA and other organisations. GO2 Health assists people transitioning by:


  • Working with you to create a plan
  • Providing regular support to help you ‘let go’ of your military career and move positively into your new life
  • Offering multidisciplinary care in one location – including GPs, psychology, physiotherapy, exercise physiology, massage and nutrition support
  • GO2 Health offers a Coordinated Veteran Care program specifically designed to help veterans with chronic health conditions. Cick here for more information 

If you think GO2 Health could benefit you, we encourage you to call us to make an appointment: (07) 3355 5540.

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