High Res tools for mental wellbeing

Looking after your mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical fitness. When you work on your mental health, you feel better about day-to-day life and build skills to protect yourself against life’s challenges.

This brochure provides information about how to use DVA’s High Res SMART (Self-Management and Resilience Training) tools, available on the Open Arms website www.openarms.gov.au/get-support/self-help-tools. Developed specifically for veterans and their families, they provide simple strategies to manage responses to stress and help build resilience. They can be used every day to complement other treatments you may be receiving for anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression or other mental health concerns.


What is resilience and why is it important?

Resilience is the ability to deal with life’s challenges and stressful situations or to bounce back. It enables you to perform at your best despite these events. Just as you can build up physical fitness, you can also build up mental resilience.

Building resilience is key to self-manage your day-to-day stresses as well as larger challenges like recovering from anxiety, depression or PTSD. It also protects against these conditions recurring.


What are the High Res tools?

The High Res tools adapt cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), an effective and widely used psychological treatment, for day-to-day use.

CBT helps you become more aware of how unhelpful emotions, thoughts and behaviours can cause distress. It provides strategies for changing these into helpful thoughts and behaviours which produce positive emotions. It enables you to respond to stressful or distressing situations in a more effective way and to feel better while doing so.


How can the High Res tools improve my mental wellbeing?

The High Res tools show that responses to a stressful situation can be:

  • Physical e.g. heart racing, sweating, nausea
  • Thoughts e.g. negative thinking such as fear or failure
  • Emotions e.g. feeling nervous or irritable
  • Behaviours e.g. avoidance of certain situations

If a stressful situation arises, start with these two steps:

Step 1 – Observe how you’re reacting to the stressful situation

Ask yourself:

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Step 2 – Determine if your reaction is reasonable and if it is helpful

Ask yourself:

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If you feel your response needs adjusting, access the High Res tools at the Open Arms website: www.openarms.gov.au/get-support/self-help-tools

Step 3 – Adjust your reaction with the appropriate High Res tool

A. Use the High Res tool finder to help you decide which tool you need.


B. Select the type of response that mostly describes what you are experiencing in a stressful situation, from these options. For example, if you are feeling fearful, frustrated or overwhelmed, click on ‘Emotions’.


C. From the available list, select the reaction that most closely matches the type of response that you are experiencing. For example, if you selected ‘Emotions’ above and are feeling fearful, then click on ‘fearful or apprehensive’.


D. Based on your selection, a range of suggested tools appears. Continue working through these tools until you feel better. Using these tools each day helps you build resilience and manage responses to stress before they become overwhelming. All the tools are available by clicking on ‘Show all tools’ at: www.openarms.gov.au/get-support/self-help-tools/show-all-tools


As with anything in life, practice helps. Using these tools as often as possible helps you to get better at all of these skills so you can draw on them when you really need them. Share these tools with your family members or those who care for you, as they might find them helpful too.


Keep in contact with your GP and mental healthcare team

Talking with your GP about mental health issues and taking action to make changes can really help. Seeing your GP often can help you feel more comfortable to talk about sensitive and personal issues, ask questions about treatments and check in about how you are going.

Ask your GP or mental healthcare professional about using the High Res tools and which ones might best suit you. They can incorporate the tools into their therapy or guide you in their use.

As part of your treatment plan, your GP might offer to refer you to a psychologist or other healthcare professional, such as a social worker or occupational therapist.

DVA pays for all Gold Card holders and all White Card holders to receive services from a range of healthcare providers as clinically required and for any mental health condition if you have served at least one day in the ADF.

If you or someone else is in crisis and needs immediate help, please call:

  • Triple zero (000) if you feel like you may hurt yourself or someone else
  • ADF Mental Health All-hours Support Line on 1800 628 036
  • Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467

The Beyond Now suicide safety planning app helps you stay safe if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or crisis www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/beyondnow-suicide-safety-planning

Where can I get more support?

My plan for using the DVA High Res SMART tools

There are four main ways that you might respond to a stressful situation. Each type of reaction can be helped by these tools. Fill in the below plan and practise these tools to help build resilience and mental wellbeing. High Res SMART tools, available at the Open Arms website: www.openarms.gov.au/get-support/self-help-tools

Which tool?

How will this tool help me?

How much time to complete?

How often?

Physical reactions

Controlled breathing


This tool will assist you to slow your breathing rate and manage physical reactions to stressful or difficult situations

1 minute

For example:

  • 1 to 2 times a day
  • 2 to 3 times a week


Guided grounding


This tool will help you focus on your surroundings and the present moment

2 minutes

  • 1 to 2 times a day
  • 2 to 3 times a week



Stop and swap thoughts


This tool will help you stop and swap your thoughts if a negative or unhelpful thought is causing you distress

5 to 10 minutes

For example:

  • 1 to 2 times a day
  • 2 to 3 times a week





This tool will offer you ideas for distracting yourself to provide a temporary break from overwhelming emotions and thoughts

5 to 10 minutes

For example:

  • 1 to 2 times a day
  • 2 to 3 times a week


Being calm


This tool will assist you to develop an attitude of calm and learn to adopt a calm attitude to life to help with stress management

3 minutes

  • 1 to 2 times a day
  • 2 to 3 times a week



Enjoyable and rewarding activities


This tool gives you ideas for enjoyable and rewarding activities you can do to boost your mood and balance the impact of stress

5 to 10 minutes

For example:

  • 1 to 2 times a day
  • 2 to 3 times a week


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