NHS to improve help for veterans

Dorset HealthCare is backing a movement that could see more support for mental health services for veterans.

The NHS provides 12 mental health services across England specifically for veterans but some feel that this still isn’t enough.

Photo by: Staff Sgt. Brett Miller (116 Public Affairs Detachment/ Released)
Photo by: Staff Sgt. Brett Miller (116 Public Affairs Detachment/ Released)

Ben Rishton of Bournemouth was discharged from the army in 2011 after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He said “I haven’t felt supported at all by them. It’s only the veterans charities and family support that has made a difference.”

Dr Jonathan Leach, Chair of NHS England’s Armed Forces and their Families Clinical Reference Group said

“On leaving the armed forces, most people successfully transition back into civilian life. But some individuals can experience very traumatic situations whilst serving in the military before facing the additional challenges of moving back into civilian life…”

Photo: NHS

“While mental health awareness is improving, we can do more to identify issues not just with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but with wider problems linked to anxiety and depression,” he added.

What the NHS is calling The Veterans Mental Health Engagement Project, involved launching an online survey to gather views about the services currently on offer in hope to improve services available to veterans and those returning from tours of duty.

The NHS fears that access to support is not strong enough as only a minority of ex-service personnel with mental health problems seek help, mostly due to the perceived stigma of the condition.

It is hoped the questionnaire will increase understanding of veteran’s mental health, as well as the service itself.

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