Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith says the families of soldiers killed or wounded in Afghanistan should be in the forefront of people's minds during tomorrow's Anzac Day ceremonies.

"I think it's very important to let the general public know what we [soldiers] have been doing and also pay our respects to all of those before us who have gone and served their country and given us the Anzac spirit," he said in Canberra.

"What's fundamentally critical is that we also support the families of the fallen.

"On Anzac Day these are the people we need to be thinking about as well, because those wives and husbands and persons are the ones that will turn up to a parade and their sacrifice is enduring.

"They stand on the sidelines and they live their lives without their loved ones."

In 2011, Corporal Roberts-Smith was presented with the Victoria Cross for his role in assaulting enemy machine gun positions in Afghanistan while the rest of his squad was pinned down.

One of only three VC recipients for Australia, he donated his medal to the Australian War Memorial.

Corporal Roberts-Smith will march in the national parade in Canberra tomorrow with the children of two fellow soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan.

He says another point to remember on Anzac Day this year is that many soldiers remain undiagnosed for their issues.

"We have 251 wounded soldiers from Afghanistan and by the standards of years gone by or conflicts gone by, that isn't a great deal of men, but those families are affected as well," he said.

"I can guarantee you that there will be a number of returned service men that are yet to be diagnosed with other issues, and it's something that we need to focus on and we need to remember that those guys need to have another life outside of Defence."

Corporal Roberts-Smith says the Defence Force and charities need to maintain the momentum of diagnosing mental health issues with returned soldiers and supporting them.

"What we don't want to do is Afghanistan finishes and everyone turns away and says 'That's it' ... they go off the radar [and] there's no problem," he said.

"We need to the keep that momentum, keep the awareness up of what's happening."

Last month, the Defence Force said it feared there would be as soldiers return home after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan.

The head of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, assured parliamentarians there were enough facilities to cope with any spike in demand.

 

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