NHS England has launched improved mental health services for veterans in response to a national engagement undertaken last year. The views of veterans and their families have helped to inform a service that builds on the success of previous provision and seeks to provide increased access to local care and treatment across the country in a more uniformed manner. This includes recognising the early signs of mental health problems and providing access to early treatment and support, as well as therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties and psychological trauma. Patients are also provided with help, where appropriate, with employment, reduction in alcohol consumption, housing and social support.
Available across England, the service works closely with the wider NHS, local authorities and third sector organisations to ensure the appropriate care is in place for patients and their families.
A significant benefit of the new service is that armed forces personnel approaching discharge can also now access NHS care and treatment for mental health conditions and thereafter into civilian life regardless of when they leave the military. Patients are able to self-refer or request referral via a health care professional or service charity, such as Combat Stress, the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.