War widows have been encouraged to seek help if they are struggling and that it is not weak, but rather courageous, to do so.
That was the message from Linda Hurley, wife of Australia's Governor-General David Hurley, at the Australian War Widows' 26th Field of Remembrance Dedication Ceremony and Anzac Service on Friday.
Mrs Hurley, who is a patron of the advocacy organisation, was guest speaker at the commemorations at RSL LifeCare in Lyneham.
In an emotional gathering, she told widows, veterans and dignitaries about her experience as someone involved directly with Defence.
"I'm a very proud Defence wife, but as we all know that is not without its challenges," Mrs Hurley said.
"I have the utmost respect for Defence wives and husbands and know how important it is that we support them.
Mrs Hurley recounted her experience while her husband was deployed.
"I have never anticipated that one day David would be deployed to Somalia," she said.
"As the commanding officer of the First Battalion, it was a very significant, exciting and ultimately successful time for him and the men of 1RAR.
"About five weeks into the deployment, when I was saying prayers to our eldest daughter, she said, 'Mummy, you don't seem to be happy anymore'.
"I was shocked, I genuinely thought I was coping pretty well."
Mrs Hurley said the incident was a "huge wake-up call to me from an eight-year-old".
"My friends and networks were a godsend. We shared many personal moments together and we experienced a close bond," she said.
"My message today is that help is out there and you can seek help. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help but it does take courage."
She also paid tribute to organisations helping those involved in Defence.
"David and I are pleased to be able to shine a light on the critically important role played by our fine service organisations like the Australian War Widows ACT," she said.
"The value of this network and its interactions cannot be understated. It can be life-changing.
The Australian War Widows provides support to more than 100 widows in the ACT and surrounds.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: