The Contact Group

The UK collaboration for military mental health policy, treatment and research

Contact Armed Forces

The UK collaboration for military mental health policy, treatment and research

Find support

Transitioning out of the armed forces is a big change and accessing mental health support can be confusing for veterans and their families. Please see the sections below to find organisations offering support for serving personnel, veterans, families, those in crisis and in need of immediate support and healthcare professionals. There are also links to specific NHS services and care pathway information for the armed forces below, which differ between England, Scotland and Wales. Please note that Contact is not a regulatory body and does not monitor or regulate the activities of member, associate, partner or other organisations featured on this site.

For serving >

For veterans >

For families >

Crisis help >

Healthcare professionals >

Pathway information >

For Serving

Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) works for a secure and prosperous United Kingdom with global reach and influence. We will protect our people, territories, values and interests at home and overseas, through strong armed forces and in partnership with allies, to ensure our security, support our national interests and safeguard our prosperity. MOD is a ministerial department, supported by 28 agencies and public bodies.
Q

Ministry of Defence

The mental health and wellbeing of service personnel, whether regulars or reservists, their families and veterans is a priority for the government.

Serving personnel

The MOD and Defence Medical Services have worked hard to improve the mental health services available to those serving in the armed forces (including mobilised reservists). We have implemented many new interventions including deploying expert mental health professionals to the front line and ensuring that briefing on the support available, assessment and treatment (if required) is offered to every serviceman and woman both before and after deployment.

These improvements have seen stress management being embedded throughout the armed forces, with mental health awareness training, caring leadership and effective line management skills becoming a priority for all levels. We are making a concerted effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and further promote awareness of the medical care and support available.

If someone thinks they have a mental health condition or just wants someone to speak to, they can ask for help from any medical officer or their chain of command. All units are supported by non-medical personal that are able to signpost to the relevant service. This includes Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) Practitioners (individuals trained in assessing the risk of problems associated with traumatic events) and chaplains.

Personnel can then either be treated for mental health problems by their medical officer in their unit medical centre, or referred to specialist mental healthcare services.

Specialist mental health services are primarily delivered through 16 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs) located in large military centres across the UK, as well as centres overseas. UK DCMHs are staffed by psychiatrists, mental health nurses, clinical psychologists and mental health social workers.

A wide range of psychiatric and psychological treatments are available, including medication, psychological therapies, social support and a change of environment where appropriate.

For some personnel there may be a fear that presenting for help with a mental health problem may damage their opportunities to remain in the armed forces. More than 70% of those who do present to DCMHs are returned to full fitness and can continue a productive career. Of those that don’t, many are satisfied with the outcome of leaving the armed forces. Only 3 to 4% of personnel are medically discharged as a result of a mental health problem. It must be noted that to ensure a continuation of care, individuals are still able to access defence mental health services up to 6 months after discharge.

Reservists

Mobilised reservists receive care in the same way as regular personnel. Non-mobilised reservists remain under the care of NHS services, and can also access occupational health services via the Defence Medical Services, which addresses their fitness to serve.

The Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme , run in partnership with the NHS is staffed by both military and civilian clinicians with extensive military experience and knowledge.

The service offers free advice and is open to all current or former members of the UK volunteer and regular reserves who have been demobilised since 1 January 2003, following operational deployment overseas as a reservist and who believe that their deployment may have affected their mental health.

Service families and veterans

In the UK, the NHS is responsible for delivering healthcare for the families of those serving and veterans. Mental healthcare is a multi-agency delivery effort and the MOD and UK Department of Health are working with the NHS and service charities, including Combat Stress, to promote awareness of veterans’ and service family issues.

In addition, Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds provides free and confidential support to Veterans, their families and the families of those currently serving who are suffering with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or alcohol. The service is easily accessible, with support delivered by phone, Skype or face to face.

Veterans can also access services ran by the Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme (VRMHP) as above.

The MOD provide healthcare services to families who are registered with Defence Medical Services, including those who accompany their serving family member when posted to our major bases overseas.

NHS England

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
 www.england.nhs.uk/

Q

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare for the armed forces community

The NHS provides a range of healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

Serving

Although the MOD retains the responsibility for most non-emergency/crisis mental health issues for serving personnel, the NHS provides some in-service healthcare, hospital care, rehabilitation and mental health services. More information here.

Transition

There is a range of NHS services and advice available for service personnel leaving the forces, whether this is part of normal discharge or as a result of being wounded, injured or sick.  More information here.

Veterans, families and reservists

NHS information and support services are available to veterans, families and reservists. Local NHS GPs and mental health services are normally the first line of support; however specialist services are offered throughout England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland for those with service-related issues.

Get in touch

Email:england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
Web: www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/armed-forces  or www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/militaryhealthcare

Togetherall

Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) provides 24/7 safe, anonymous support FREE to all UK serving personnel, veterans and their families.

www.togetherall.com/eng-gb

Q

Togetherall

Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) is a digital mental health service for people aged 16+. It is available to serving members of the UK military, reservists, veterans and their family members aged 16+.

Togetherall services for the Armed Forces include:

Support Network

24/7 professionally moderated online peer support, self-management information, creative arts and writing therapies.

Guided Support

Structured online group courses on common mental health issues including anxiety and depression, plus smoking cessation, weight management and alcohol use.

Togetherall is free and completely anonymous and can be accessed privately from a place of your choosing. All you need is an internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone, join us or find out more.

“Togetherall allows me to express my feeling fully without fear of condemnation, I can display my feeling knowing that I won’t be judged. The responses were meaningful and you can really feel others concerns. I am able to communicate with people like myself. Depression and PTSD is a really lonely place, even today you can still feel the stigma.  The military don’t feel that the pain we go through, mental health is not truly recognised by our peers and counterparts. Just because you can see the pain they think you’re making it up, or you want an easy time of it?”

RAF Veteran – February 2016

Get in touch


Web: www.togetherall.com/en-gbArmed Forces log-in/sign-up: www.account.v2.togetherall.com/register/uk-armed-forces

For Veterans

Combat Stress

We are the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For over a century we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

www.combatstress.org.uk

Q

Combat Stress

Today, we provide specialist treatment and support for veterans with complex mental health issues.

Our free 24-hour Helpline provides confidential mental health advice. You, or your family, friends or carers, can contact us anytime, day or night, for help.

Our specialist team will help you find the right support to tackle the past and take on the future.

“You don’t want to admit that there is a problem, but I knew it had got to the point where I was going to do something really stupid if I didn’t get help.

“It was a relief to know that there was actually something wrong with me, and that I wasn’t just a horrible person. It was a difficult process, but it has changed my life. I still have moments, but I now have the tools to overcome them.

“Quite simply, without Combat Stress I would be dead or doing life in jail…and I mean that. Make the call. You’re not going to get anywhere trying to do it on your own.” 

Pete was deployed in 1975 to Northern Ireland during the height of the tensions. Throughout this time, he unknowingly battled with mental health issues, before things reached breaking point when he retired from the Army.

Eventually, 11 years after leaving the Army, Pete made the call to Combat Stress. He underwent a range of treatment programmes and has since rediscovered his drive and passion for life.

Get in touch

For confidential mental health advice, please contact our 24-hour Helpline:

Tel: 0800 138 1619
Text: 07537 404 719
Email: helpline@combatstress.org.uk
Web: www.combatstress.org.uk

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes’ Hidden Wounds service supports ex-Service personnel, their families and the families of those still serving who are living with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or who wish to change their drinking habits.

01980 844388
getsupport@helpforheroes.org.uk
www.helpforheroes.org.uk

Q

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes – Hidden Wounds

Are you a Veteran or an Armed Forces family member struggling with low mood, worry, stress, anger or wanting to change your drinking habits? If so, take back control with Help for Heroes’ Hidden Wounds service.

Hidden Wounds supports ex-service personnel, their families and the families of those still serving who are living with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or who wish to change their drinking habits. Free and confidential support is available by phone, Skype or face to face, delivered by an experienced team who understand military life.

“Everyone I spoke to at Hidden Wounds was discreet, supportive, kind and empathetic; I never felt judged or pressured. Hidden Wounds found a way to support me that was tailored to my own experiences, arranged at a pace that suited my life.”

A Help for Heroes’ Hidden Wounds beneficiary

Get in touch

Tel: 01980 844388
Email: getsupport@helpforheroes.org.uk
Web: www.helpforheroes.org.uk

NHS England

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
 www.england.nhs.uk/

Q

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare for the armed forces community

The NHS provides a range of healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

Serving

Although the MOD retains the responsibility for most non-emergency/crisis mental health issues for serving personnel, the NHS provides some in-service healthcare, hospital care, rehabilitation and mental health services. More information here.

Transition

There is a range of NHS services and advice available for service personnel leaving the forces, whether this is part of normal discharge or as a result of being wounded, injured or sick.  More information here.

Veterans, families and reservists

NHS information and support services are available to veterans, families and reservists. Local NHS GPs and mental health services are normally the first line of support; however specialist services are offered throughout England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland for those with service-related issues.

Get in touch

Email:england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
Web: www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/armed-forces  or www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/militaryhealthcare

Northern Ireland Veterans' Support Office

The Veterans’ Support Office (VSO) was established to ensure that Veterans living in Northern Ireland do not experience disadvantage. The work of the VSO supports Veterans and the families, carers and widows or widowers of Veterans.

+44 (0)2895 216784
www.nivso.org.uk/contact
www.nivso.org.uk

Q

Northern Ireland Veteran' Support Office

The VSO was established to develop the capacity to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland. We achieve this by developing strong working links between Devolved Government Departments, Local Government Veterans’ Champions and the voluntary and charitable sector. This ensures that Veterans living in Northern Ireland do not experience disadvantage as a result of their Service in the Armed Forces and have the same access to services and support as any other citizen. 

How do we do it?

The VSO has 5 main tasks:

  • To be a trusted point of contact for Veterans whose needs are not being met.
  • To be a single point of contact for all organisations providing services for Veterans.
  • To develop a coherent and coordinated approach to support Veterans.
  • To increase the quantity and scope of services available by promoting and guiding access to Armed Forces Covenant Trust Funding.
  • To achieve and monitor outcomes in all the above and communicate these outcomes appropriately.

Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion provides support services to the men and women of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families – ensuring help is at hand through life.

0808 802 8080
info@britishlegion.org.uk
www.britishlegion.org.uk

Q

Royal British Legion

Bravo 22 Company

As part of its physical and mental wellbeing support, the Royal British Legion’s Bravo 22 Company has been successfully running theatre and art projects across the UK for the last five years. The regional projects are open to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their family members. These projects are designed to help people along their individual paths of recovery by improving self-esteem, confidence and motivation.

From performing on stage, script writing and set design, to creating life-size sculptures, Bravo 22 Company is a great way to meet other people, learn new skills and tell your story through the arts.

There’s no need for any previous experience in theatre or art to get involved, just a willingness to try something new.

 

“When I heard about Bravo 22 I thought, ‘this is something I’ve never done before. It will take me out of my comfort zone and really challenge me’. I needed something to do. I was retreating back into myself after undergoing rehab. I’m not arty at all but I really got into it. It allowed me to express my emotions, and helped me to vent it in a controlled manner.  It’s given me a sense of pride again and it’s proved that although I have suffered quite extensive injuries I can do anything if I set my mind to it.”

Dave Pegram took part in the Bravo 22 Art of Recovery project in 2016

Get in touch

Royal British Legion
Tel: 0808 802 8080
Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk
Web: www.britishlegion.org.uk

or visit your local Pop In Centre

Bravo 22 Company

Email: bravo22company@britishlegion.org.uk<a
Web: www.britishlegion.org.uk/Bravo22

Scottish Veterans Care Network

The Scottish Veterans Care Network aims to bring together the wide range of stakeholders that are involved in providing specialist health and social care for veterans, professionals, veterans and voluntary groups. 

 0131 275 7719
 nss.veteranshealth@nhs.scot
 www.veteranscarenetwork.scot

Q

Scottish Veterans Care Network

The Network is a collaborative National Strategic Network, operated by the National Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS).

The primary purpose of the Scottish Veterans Care Network is to support a ‘Once for Scotland’ approach to the planning, design and delivery of an integrated, holistic, person-centred care pathway across the health and social care system. 

The objectives of the SVCN have been agreed with a wide range of stakeholders, including Scottish Government, NHS Boards, Integrated Joint Boards and other relevant partners.

Improving standards wherever possible and achieving parity of veteran care, at a consistent level across Scotland, will further support our shared commitment to “leaving no one behind” and fulfilling the pledge of the Armed Forces Covenant. Scotland’s veterans’ community is more than 220,000-strong. There is an opportunity to enable positive transformation in health and well-being for veterans, their families and their wider communities. Veterans will feel empowered to identify their needs, and co-produce services. This will ensure the best possible outcomes for Veterans, through better access to high quality specialist care/services.

Tel: 0131 275 7719
Email: nss.veteranshealth@nhs.scot
Web: 
www.veteranscarenetwork.scot

Togetherall

Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) provides 24/7 safe, anonymous support FREE to all UK serving personnel, veterans and their families.

www.togetherall.com/eng-gb

Q

Togetherall

Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) is a digital mental health service for people aged 16+. It is available to serving members of the UK military, reservists, veterans and their family members aged 16+.

Togetherall services for the Armed Forces include:

Support Network

24/7 professionally moderated online peer support, self-management information, creative arts and writing therapies.

Guided Support

Structured online group courses on common mental health issues including anxiety and depression, plus smoking cessation, weight management and alcohol use.

Togetherall is free and completely anonymous and can be accessed privately from a place of your choosing. All you need is an internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone, join us or find out more.

“Togetherall allows me to express my feeling fully without fear of condemnation, I can display my feeling knowing that I won’t be judged. The responses were meaningful and you can really feel others concerns. I am able to communicate with people like myself. Depression and PTSD is a really lonely place, even today you can still feel the stigma.  The military don’t feel that the pain we go through, mental health is not truly recognised by our peers and counterparts. Just because you can see the pain they think you’re making it up, or you want an easy time of it?”

RAF Veteran – February 2016

Get in touch


Web: www.togetherall.com/en-gb
Armed Forces log-in/sign-up: www.account.v2.togetherall.com/register/uk-armed-forces

Veterans NHS Wales

Veterans NHS Wales offers specialist support to veterans who are experiencing service-related mental health problems.

029 2183 2261
Admin.Vnhswc&v@wales.nhs.uk
www.veteranswales.co.uk

Q

Veterans NHS Wales

Each Local Health Board (LHB) in Wales has appointed an experienced clinician as a Veteran Therapist (VT) with an interest in or experience of military (mental) health problems. The VT will accept referrals from healthcare staff, GPs, veterans charities and self-referrals from ex-service personnel directly. The appropriate VT can be contacted by going to their LHB page on the VNHSW website and using one of the contact methods including telephone, email or fax.

Appointments will be arranged as close to the veteran’s home as possible in a suitable venue. The service is not able to respond to emergency referrals. Veterans in crisis should contact their GP or the Out of Hours Service. There is a Psychiatrist on-call at all Accident and Emergency Units in District General Hospitals. Alternatively, call these 24/7 help lines: CALL – 0800 132 737 or Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline – 0800 138 1619.

Following assessment the veteran may be offered treatment by the VT or referred on to other NHS teams or departments for further treatment. The VT will also refer to veteran charities for help with debt management, benefits and war pension/armed forces compensation claims where needed.

Don’t suffer in silence, contact us now and we can try and help you get on with your life.

Get in touch

Tel: 029 1283 2261
Email: Admin.Vnhswc&v@wales.nhs.uk
Web: www.veteranswales.co.uk

Walking With The Wounded

The WWTW Head Start programme provides evidence-based treatment from accredited private therapists nationwide. Ex-service personnel with mild to moderate mental health difficulties can receive up to 12 sessions of face to face counselling.

01263 863 906
headstart@wwtw.org.uk
www.walkingwiththewounded.org.uk

Q

Walking With The Wounded

Walking With The Wounded’s Head Start programme can offer up to 12 sessions of therapy close to home through a national network of private accredited therapists for ex-service personnel. If you are a former member of the armed forces and are experiencing low mood, worry, intrusive thoughts, nightmares or trouble sleeping, you may be in need of support with one or more of the following areas: depression, anxiety, PTSD and adjustment disorder and you could be eligible for support. Contact your GP or healthcare professional and ask to be referred to the WWTW Head Start programme.

Head Start exists to complement NHS and other third sector organisations in the provision of mental health support to ex-service personnel. Through a national network of accredited therapists we fund private face to face evidence-based therapy for those with mild to moderate mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic illnesses and adjustment disorder, including for those who simultaneously misuse substances.

The NHS is central to ex-service personnel receiving support with their mental health. However where the local NHS and its veteran specific services have limited geographical coverage and long waiting lists, Head Start offers an alternative.

Established in 2010, Walking With The Wounded provides vulnerable veterans independence through employment. WWTW recognises the inherent skills of our armed service personnel and wants to complement these qualities, as well as provide support to transfer their skills into the civilian workplace. We offer assistance through our programmes to vulnerable veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service and assist them in gaining independence through new, long-term careers outside the military.  This includes providing support to homeless veterans and veterans in the Criminal Justice System, areas which are too often ignored.

The outcome is sustainable employment and independence for them and their families.

Registered charity number 1153497 

 “Walking With The Wounded is like a guide-dog for a blind person, a companion that has helped me through the hardship of transitioning back into civilian life.”

Paul who is currently being supported by our Head Start programme, Parachute Regiment 2000-2004

Get in touch

Tel: 01263 863 906
Email: headstart@wwtw.org.uk 
Web: walkingwiththewounded.org.uk

For Families

Combat Stress

We are the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For over a century we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

www.combatstress.org.uk

Q

Combat Stress

Today, we provide specialist treatment and support for veterans with complex mental health issues. 

Our free 24-hour Helpline provides confidential mental health advice. You, or your family, friends or carers, can contact us anytime, day or night, for help. 

Our specialist team will help you find the right support to tackle the past and take on the future.

“You don’t want to admit that there is a problem, but I knew it had got to the point where I was going to do something really stupid if I didn’t get help.

“It was a relief to know that there was actually something wrong with me, and that I wasn’t just a horrible person. It was a difficult process, but it has changed my life. I still have moments, but I now have the tools to overcome them.

“Quite simply, without Combat Stress I would be dead or doing life in jail…and I mean that. Make the call. You’re not going to get anywhere trying to do it on your own.”

Pete was deployed in 1975 to Northern Ireland during the height of the tensions. Throughout this time, he unknowingly battled with mental health issues, before things reached breaking point when he retired from the Army.

Eventually, 11 years after leaving the Army, Pete made the call to Combat Stress. He underwent a range of treatment programmes and has since rediscovered his drive and passion for life.

Get in touch

For confidential mental health advice, please contact our 24-hour Helpline:

Tel: 0800 138 1619
Text: 07537 404 719
Email: helpline@combatstress.org.uk
Web: www.combatstress.org.uk

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes’ Hidden Wounds service supports ex-Service personnel, their families and the families of those still serving who are living with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or who wish to change their drinking habits.

01980 844388
getsupport@helpforheroes.org.uk
www.helpforheroes.org.uk

Q

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes – Hidden Wounds

Are you a Veteran or an Armed Forces family member struggling with low mood, worry, stress, anger or wanting to change your drinking habits? If so, take back control with Help for Heroes’ Hidden Wounds service.

Hidden Wounds supports ex-service personnel, their families and the families of those still serving who are living with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or who wish to change their drinking habits. Free and confidential support is available by phone, Skype or face to face, delivered by an experienced team who understand military life.

“Everyone I spoke to at Hidden Wounds was discreet, supportive, kind and empathetic; I never felt judged or pressured. Hidden Wounds found a way to support me that was tailored to my own experiences, arranged at a pace that suited my life.”

A Help for Heroes’ Hidden Wounds beneficiary

Get in touch

Tel: 01980 844388
Email: getsupport@helpforheroes.org.uk
Web: www.helpforheroes.org.uk

NHS England

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
www.england.nhs.uk/

Q

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare for the armed forces community

The NHS provides a range of healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

Serving

Although the MOD retains the responsibility for most non-emergency/crisis mental health issues for serving personnel, the NHS provides some in-service healthcare, hospital care, rehabilitation and mental health services. More information here.

Transition

There is a range of NHS services and advice available for service personnel leaving the forces, whether this is part of normal discharge or as a result of being wounded, injured or sick.  More information here.

Veterans, families and reservists

NHS information and support services are available to veterans, families and reservists. Local NHS GPs and mental health services are normally the first line of support; however specialist services are offered throughout England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland for those with service-related issues.

Get in touch

Email:england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
Web:www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/armed-forces  or www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/militaryhealthcare

Northern Ireland Veterans' Support Office

The Veterans’ Support Office (VSO) was established to ensure that Veterans living in Northern Ireland do not experience disadvantage. The work of the VSO supports Veterans and the families, carers and widows or widowers of Veterans.

+44 (0)2895 216784
www.nivso.org.uk/contact
www.nivso.org.uk

Q

Northern Ireland Veteran' Support Office

The VSO was established to develop the capacity to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland. We achieve this by developing strong working links between Devolved Government Departments, Local Government Veterans’ Champions and the voluntary and charitable sector. This ensures that Veterans living in Northern Ireland do not experience disadvantage as a result of their Service in the Armed Forces and have the same access to services and support as any other citizen. 

How do we do it?

The VSO has 5 main tasks:

  • To be a trusted point of contact for Veterans whose needs are not being met.
  • To be a single point of contact for all organisations providing services for Veterans.
  • To develop a coherent and coordinated approach to support Veterans.
  • To increase the quantity and scope of services available by promoting and guiding access to Armed Forces Covenant Trust Funding.
  • To achieve and monitor outcomes in all the above and communicate these outcomes appropriately.

Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion provides support services to the men and women of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families – ensuring help is at hand through life.

0808 802 8080
info@britishlegion.org.uk
www.britishlegion.org.uk

Q

Royal British Legion

Bravo 22 Company

As part of its physical and mental wellbeing support, the Royal British Legion’s Bravo 22 Company has been successfully running theatre and art projects across the UK for the last five years. The regional projects are open to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their family members. These projects are designed to help people along their individual paths of recovery by improving self-esteem, confidence and motivation.

From performing on stage, script writing and set design, to creating life-size sculptures, Bravo 22 Company is a great way to meet other people, learn new skills and tell your story through the arts.

There’s no need for any previous experience in theatre or art to get involved, just a willingness to try something new.

 

“When I heard about Bravo 22 I thought, ‘this is something I’ve never done before. It will take me out of my comfort zone and really challenge me’. I needed something to do. I was retreating back into myself after undergoing rehab. I’m not arty at all but I really got into it. It allowed me to express my emotions, and helped me to vent it in a controlled manner.  It’s given me a sense of pride again and it’s proved that although I have suffered quite extensive injuries I can do anything if I set my mind to it.”

Dave Pegram took part in the Bravo 22 Art of Recovery project in 2016

Get in touch

Royal British Legion
Tel: 0808 802 8080
Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk
Web: www.britishlegion.org.uk

or visit your local Pop In Centre

Bravo 22 Company

Email: bravo22company@britishlegion.org.uk<a
Web: www.britishlegion.org.uk/Bravo22

Scottish Veterans Care Network

The Scottish Veterans Care Network aims to bring together the wide range of stakeholders that are involved in providing specialist health and social care for veterans, professionals, veterans and voluntary groups. 

 0131 275 7719
 nss.veteranshealth@nhs.scot
 www.veteranscarenetwork.scot

Q

Scottish Veterans Care Network

The Network is a collaborative National Strategic Network, operated by the National Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS).

The primary purpose of the Scottish Veterans Care Network is to support a ‘Once for Scotland’ approach to the planning, design and delivery of an integrated, holistic, person-centred care pathway across the health and social care system. 

The objectives of the SVCN have been agreed with a wide range of stakeholders, including Scottish Government, NHS Boards, Integrated Joint Boards and other relevant partners.

Improving standards wherever possible and achieving parity of veteran care, at a consistent level across Scotland, will further support our shared commitment to “leaving no one behind” and fulfilling the pledge of the Armed Forces Covenant. Scotland’s veterans’ community is more than 220,000-strong. There is an opportunity to enable positive transformation in health and well-being for veterans, their families and their wider communities. Veterans will feel empowered to identify their needs, and co-produce services. This will ensure the best possible outcomes for Veterans, through better access to high quality specialist care/services.

Tel: 0131 275 7719
Email: nss.veteranshealth@nhs.scot
Web: www.veteranscarenetwork.scot

Togetherall

Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) provides 24/7 safe, anonymous support FREE to all UK serving personnel, veterans and their families.

www.togetherall.com/eng-gb

Q

Togetherall

Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) is a digital mental health service for people aged 16+. It is available to serving members of the UK military, reservists, veterans and their family members aged 16+.

Togetherall services for the Armed Forces include:

Support Network

24/7 professionally moderated online peer support, self-management information, creative arts and writing therapies.

Guided Support

Structured online group courses on common mental health issues including anxiety and depression, plus smoking cessation, weight management and alcohol use.

Togetherall is free and completely anonymous and can be accessed privately from a place of your choosing. All you need is an internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone, join us or find out more.

“Togetherall allows me to express my feeling fully without fear of condemnation, I can display my feeling knowing that I won’t be judged. The responses were meaningful and you can really feel others concerns. I am able to communicate with people like myself. Depression and PTSD is a really lonely place, even today you can still feel the stigma.  The military don’t feel that the pain we go through, mental health is not truly recognised by our peers and counterparts. Just because you can see the pain they think you’re making it up, or you want an easy time of it?”

RAF Veteran – February 2016

Get in touch


Web: www.togetherall.com/en-gb
Armed Forces log-in/sign-up: www.account.v2.togetherall.com/register/uk-armed-forces

Veterans NHS Wales

Veterans NHS Wales offers specialist support to veterans who are experiencing service-related mental health problems.

029 2183 2261
Admin.Vnhswc&v@wales.nhs.uk
www.veteranswales.co.uk

Q

Veterans NHS Wales

Each Local Health Board (LHB) in Wales has appointed an experienced clinician as a Veteran Therapist (VT) with an interest in or experience of military (mental) health problems. The VT will accept referrals from healthcare staff, GPs, veterans charities and self-referrals from ex-service personnel directly. The appropriate VT can be contacted by going to their LHB page on the VNHSW website and using one of the contact methods including telephone, email or fax.

Appointments will be arranged as close to the veteran’s home as possible in a suitable venue. The service is not able to respond to emergency referrals. Veterans in crisis should contact their GP or the Out of Hours Service. There is a Psychiatrist on-call at all Accident and Emergency Units in District General Hospitals. Alternatively, call these 24/7 help lines: CALL – 0800 132 737 or Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline – 0800 138 1619.

Following assessment the veteran may be offered treatment by the VT or referred on to other NHS teams or departments for further treatment. The VT will also refer to veteran charities for help with debt management, benefits and war pension/armed forces compensation claims where needed.

Don’t suffer in silence, contact us now and we can try and help you get on with your life.

Get in touch

Tel: 029 1283 2261
Email: Admin.Vnhswc&v@wales.nhs.uk
Web: www.veteranswales.co.uk

Crisis help

If someone is in immediate danger, call 999, their GP, the NHS 111 service or the Samaritans (details below). The other organisations listed below also have 24 hour helplines and can sign-post to crisis support services if needed.

Samaritans

Samaritans

Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need someone to talk to, we listen. We won’t judge or tell you what to do.Call us any time, day or night. Whatever you’re going through, you can call us any time, from any phone for FREE. Call 116 123 for free or write us an email (response time 24 hours), a letter or use our self-help app.

116 123
jo@samaritans.org
www.samaritans.org

Combat Stress

We are the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For over a century we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

 0800 138 1619
 07537 404 719
helpline@combatstress.org.uk
www.combatstress.org.uk

Veterans Gateway

Veterans Gateway

Contact supports Veterans’ Gateway as a first point of contact for veterans and their families seeking support.

 0808 802 1212
www.veteransgateway.org.uk

For Healthcare Professionals

Contact’s collaborative approach aims to ensure that organisations are able to support all members of the armed forces community (serving, veterans and family members) in a more informed and unified way. If you are a healthcare professional supporting a specific individual and want to find out more about their eligibility for treatment from a Contact member, or to find out more about the support they offer, please see the Members section above for more information and contact details. Details of armed forces-specific resources from the professional bodies for psychiatrists, GPs and nurses are also listed below.

Contact’s Guiding Principles for Mental Health Care Service Providers are recommended to all healthcare professionals working with the armed forces community.

Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional medical body responsible for supporting psychiatrists. RCPsych aims to improve the outcomes of people with mental illness, and the mental health of individuals, their families and communities

www.rcpsych.ac.uk

Q

Combat Stress

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional medical body responsible for supporting psychiatrists throughout their careers, from training through to retirement. We are committed to setting and raising standards of psychiatry in the United Kingdom.

RCPsych aims to improve the outcomes of people with mental illness, and the mental health of individuals, their families and communities.

We achieve this by:

  • Setting standards and promoting excellence in psychiatry
  • Leading, representing and supporting psychiatrists
  • Improving the scientific understanding of mental illness
  • Working with and as advocates for patients, carers and their organisations

We play a vital role in representing the expertise of the psychiatric profession to governments and other agencies, both nationally and internationally.

Get in touch

Web: www.rcpsych.ac.uk

Royal College of GPs

We are the professional membership body for GPs in the UK. Our purpose is to encourage, foster and maintain the highest possible standards in general medical practice.

www.rcgp.org.uk

Q

Royal college of GPs

We are the professional membership body for GPs in the UK. Our purpose is to encourage, foster and maintain the highest possible standards in general medical practice. We support GPs through all stages of their career, from medical students considering general practice, through to training, qualified years and retirement.

On average, each GP is responsible for up to 50 ex-military patients. Veterans may have health conditions attributable to their time in the military. Ensuring that all GPs in England are equipped to best serve our armed forces veterans and their families is a key commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The health needs of military veterans can differ significantly to those of other patients. Recognising that veterans have specific medical needs is the first step to providing healthcare to this group of patients.

The RCGP has produced a Veterans’ Healthcare Toolkit containing guidance on how to manage veterans’ healthcare needs as well as advice on how to care for patients who may have been affected by their service careers.The RCGP is also working alongside NHS England to accredit practices as ‘Veteran Friendly’. This is a simple process where practices are required to meet specified criteria and provide evidence that they are supportive of veterans’ healthcare.

Web: www.rcgp.org.uk

Royal college of Nursing

Royal College of Nursing

The RCN is the world’s largest nursing union and professional body. The RCN represents nursing and offers a range of services and support to members. The RCN’s Defence Nursing Forum represents members who work in the field of the military.

www.rcn.org.uk

Pathway information

In England, Scotland and Wales, NHS services and care pathways for veterans differ. See below for further information on the NHS services available in each.

NHS England

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
www.england.nhs.uk/

Q

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Healthcare for the armed forces community

The NHS provides a range of healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.

Serving

Although the MOD retains the responsibility for most non-emergency/crisis mental health issues for serving personnel, the NHS provides some in-service healthcare, hospital care, rehabilitation and mental health services. More information here.

Transition

There is a range of NHS services and advice available for service personnel leaving the forces, whether this is part of normal discharge or as a result of being wounded, injured or sick.  More information here.

Veterans, families and reservists

NHS information and support services are available to veterans, families and reservists. Local NHS GPs and mental health services are normally the first line of support; however specialist services are offered throughout England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland for those with service-related issues.

Get in touch

Email:england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net
Web:www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/armed-forces  or www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/militaryhealthcare

Veterans First Point

Veterans First Point - NHS Scotland

Veterans First Point (V1P) has been developed by Veterans for Veterans and is staffed by an alliance of clinicians and Veterans. The service we provide is free at the point of access and provided as part of the NHS in Scotland. If you ever served in HM Armed Forces in any capacity for any length of time we can offer you free advice and support, whatever your needs may be. Or if you have a father, mother, sibling or partner that has served we can give you help and advice if you are concerned for their well being in any way. Give us a call or drop in to your local centre if you feel you would like some help or advice, whatever that may be.

0131 221 7090
V1P.Scotland@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk
www.veteransfirstpoint.org.uk/

Veterans NHS Wales

Veterans NHS Wales offers specialist support to veterans who are experiencing service-related mental health problems.

029 2183 2261
Admin.Vnhswc&v@wales.nhs.uk
www.veteranswales.co.uk

Q

Veterans NHS Wales

Each Local Health Board (LHB) in Wales has appointed an experienced clinician as a Veteran Therapist (VT) with an interest in or experience of military (mental) health problems. The VT will accept referrals from healthcare staff, GPs, veterans charities and self-referrals from ex-service personnel directly. The appropriate VT can be contacted by going to their LHB page on the VNHSW website and using one of the contact methods including telephone, email or fax.

Appointments will be arranged as close to the veteran’s home as possible in a suitable venue. The service is not able to respond to emergency referrals. Veterans in crisis should contact their GP or the Out of Hours Service. There is a Psychiatrist on-call at all Accident and Emergency Units in District General Hospitals. Alternatively, call these 24/7 help lines: CALL – 0800 132 737 or Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline – 0800 138 1619.

Following assessment the veteran may be offered treatment by the VT or referred on to other NHS teams or departments for further treatment. The VT will also refer to veteran charities for help with debt management, benefits and war pension/armed forces compensation claims where needed.

Don’t suffer in silence, contact us now and we can try and help you get on with your life.

Get in touch

Tel: 029 1283 2261
Email: Admin.Vnhswc&v@wales.nhs.uk
Web: www.veteranswales.co.uk

Contact us

If you have queries about the work of the Contact Group or its membership, please email the Contact Project Officer, Anna Owen on: anna.owen@contactarmedforces.org.uk