Whilst the majority of Service Leavers and Veterans have good mental health, are resilient and adaptable, there are some who experience difficulties with their mental health.
The most common mental health problems for ex-service personnel are:
Added to this can be alcohol and or drug misuse, where the individual use this as a way of coping with the emotions they are feeling. There are a number of organisations who can provide help and support for those suffering from mental health problems, or those who are trying to support someone with a mental health problem:
- Veterans NHS mental health services staff include veterans and civilians with a range of highly relevant and professional experience.
- Big White Wall is a safe online community of people who are anxious, down or not coping who support and help each other by sharing what's troubling them, guided by trained professionals. Available 24/7, Big White Wall is completely anonymous so you can express yourself freely and openly. The Big White Wall is FREE for UK serving personnel, veterans and their families.
- The Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme (VRMHP) provides assessment and treatment advice for veterans (who have deployed since 1982) and Reserves who have been deployed overseas since 1 January 2003 as a Reservist, and believe that their deployment may have affected their mental health.
- Combat Stress is the UK's leading veterans' mental health charity.
- H4H Hidden Wounds - Help for Heroes psychological wellbeing service. It can help Veterans and Armed Forces families living with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or alcohol.
- Samaritans work to alleviate emotional distress and reduce the incidence of suicide feelings and suicidal behaviour.
- Warrior programme is a 12-month structured support programme with an initial three or five-day residential motivation and training programme for veterans and veteran's families.
- PTSD Resolution support veterans, reservists and families who are struggling to reintegrate into a normal work and family life because of trauma suffered during service in the armed forces
- NHS Choices drug addiction - information and advice about drug-taking, getting help and support and understanding the effects of drugs.
- Turning Point is the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland service for advice, referral and support for users and their families.
- Help is at Hand guide is to support those who are coping with the bereavement of someone who may have died after suicide.
Life after physical injury in the Armed Forces
Physical injury, whether through operations or training, can not only end a person's career but can also be life-changing and life-limiting. There are various ways in which an individual can be supported in order to make the most of the opportunities available to them.
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) provides compensation for any injury, illness or death which is caused by service on or after 6 April 2005.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) - once you've had the result of your compensation claim, you might be able to claim AFIP if you've been seriously injured.
- Royal British Legion can provide grants to serving and ex-service people and their dependents who are suffering financially. These include Veterans medical funds and mobility aids/equipment.
- Disablement Service Centres have been set up across England to provide specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation services.
Disabled facilities grants
- Disabled facilities grants are available via your local housing authorities to fund adaptations to a disabled person's home which enables them to live independently and comfortably.
Other sources of support
- BLESMA The Limbless Veterans is dedicated to assisting serving and ex-Service men and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss or the use of a limb, an eye or loss of sight.
- Fry Housing Trust has an ex-Armed Forces supported accommodation scheme in Birmingham with 12-bed spaces, some of which are on the ground floor to address disability and mobility issues.
- Blind Veterans UK provides vision-impaired Armed Forces and National Service veterans with the person-centred services and tailored support they need to discover life beyond sight loss.
- The RAF Benevolent Fund also has a Housing Trust, which provides 230 specialist houses to seriously injured, wounded and sick service personnel who have a medical discharge, where alternative housing provision cannot be sourced.
- Royal British Legion Industries has a range of accommodation including Veterans housing.
- Help for Heroes Band of Brothers network offers lifelong access to all the financial and welfare support from Help for Heroes as well as providing opportunities to meet others who are living through similar experiences.
- Help for Heroes Band of Sisters is available to the loved ones of Veterans and Service Personnel who have suffered a permanently life-limiting or career-ending injury or illness during or attributable to service.
- The Not Forgotten is a small, unique and highly personalised tri-service charity whose role is to provide entertainment and recreation for the benefit of the serving wounded, injured or sick and for veterans who suffer from a disability or illness.
- Cobseo Housing Cluster has developed a Directory of Housing and Support Services for Veterans. This lists supported accommodation, general needs housing.