Veterans' mental health

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Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

Op COURAGE is an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help:

  • serving personnel due to leave the military
  • reservists
  • armed forces veterans
  • their families.

Introduction

A number of service personnel and veterans are experiencing mental health problems. They may be living in conditions which we would expect to adversely affect their mental wellbeing. Every year 22,000 armed forces personnel make the transition to civilian life. Most do it without difficulty, however, some find it more difficult and may need some help from mental health and social care provision.

Some individuals seek help, but there are many reasons why people do not. It may be a case of just simply not being aware of what services are available and how to access them. For others, the stigma around accessing mental health services can be a barrier.

Over the last three years, NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched

  • the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)
  • the Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)
  • the Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS).

Together these form a complete mental health care pathway. 

From March 2021, after feedback from veterans and their families, all NHS specialist veterans mental health services will now come under one new name - Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.

NHS mental health services in the Midlands and East work in partnership with Mental Health Matters and the charity Walking with the Wounded to improve access to mental health services for Armed Forces veterans, their families and carers.
 
The Midlands and East Veterans Service (MEVS) work together to ensure there is a proactive approach to care and treatment and a point of contact for servicemen and women and veterans when they need help support and advice. 

LPFT's Regional Lead, Doug Wing:

"The transition from military healthcare to NHS care should be seamless and the mental healthcare we provide should be the best available.  Op COURAGE brings together the three existing veterans Services; TILS, CTS and HIS, under one banner. This has been identified as something that veterans want from the service to make it easier to access for them and find the information about the services. The recognition of the needs of veterans has gained further momentum and we continue to develop and improve our services in conjunction with our partners in other Trusts and third sector organisations."

 

Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

The Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison (TIL) Service is available across the Midlands and East region for those who have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy. Some service personnel find the transition to civilian life difficult. Our dedicated team of mental health clinicians, many of whom are ex-MOD or veterans themselves, are here to help you

The service can provide veterans with a comprehensive assessment of mental health, including social needs and a physical health check-up. Family members, friends or significant others who have been supporting you on a regular basis, will also be offered an assessment of their needs.

We will work with you to produce a care plan and liaise with your local mental health service. This ensures you are able to access the support and treatment you need in a location as close as possible to your home.

The service provides a range of treatment from:

  • recognising the early signs of mental health problems and providing access to early support to
  • therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties and psychological trauma.

Where appropriate, help is also provided for other needs that may affect mental health and well-being, for example:

  • housing
  • finances and employment
  • reducing alcohol consumption
  • social support.

TILS is a unique collaboration of multi-national award winning NHS Trusts and two highly credible charities:

Mental Health Matters

Mental Health Matters is a national organisation supporting people with learning disabilities, drug and alcohol and other problems, as well as our core client group of people with mental health needs. 

They provide support to more than 60,000 people every year, covering many aspects of their lives through:

  • psychological and well-being therapeutic recovery interventions
  • everyday employment
  • housing
  • independent and community support needs.

You can self-refer or ask your GP or health/welfare worker to make the referral on your behalf. Mental Health Matters will talk to you over the phone and confirm your referral details. Once your referral is received by the veterans hub, you will be contacted and offered an appointment at a mutually agreed location

Walking With The Wounded (WWTW)

Walking With The Wounded (registered charity in England and Wales Number 1153497) provides support to our wounded to assist them back into work outside the Armed Forces. Through a number of programmes, and collaborations with other charities, WWTW focuses on helping individuals receive:

  • the right advice
  • training
  • skills
  • mentoring
  • understanding of the job market

in order to find a new career outside the military. This provides them and their family with the security they deserve after their service to our country.

Why choose the Veterans’ Mental Health TIL?

The service is a unique collaboration of multi-national award winning NHS Trusts and two highly credible charities specialising in mental health and veterans.

By combining our wealth of knowledge and expertise, we can offer support to service personnel in their last six months of military service and veterans of all ages

We understand you may be suffering with multiple symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Self-harm
  • Anger
  • Insomnia
  • Sadness
  • Paranoia ...

You may need support with a number of issues

  • Housing
  • Compensation
  • Physical health
  • Social activities
  • Benefits
  • Immigration
  • Employment
  • Other
  • Debt

Veterans' Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS) Midlands

LPFT are the lead provider to deliver the Veterans' Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS) Midlands which was launched on 1 October 2020. 

Veterans' HIS delivers an intensive package of support to veterans in crisis and their families.

The teams are based in three locations across the Midlands in:

  • Lincoln
  • Coventry
  • Birmingham

and provide a range of interventions to assist with complex mental health difficulties. Veterans' HIS within LPFT covers the following areas:

  • Lincolnshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Derbyshire
  • Rutland
  • Northamptonshire

This community service works in conjunction with the NHS Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) and the Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS). The service is a unique collaboration of award -winning NHS trusts and charities specialising in mental health and veterans.

The service will also work collaboratively with specialist mental health charities, Mental Health Matters and Tom Harrison House, to offer a bespoke package of care to veterans and their families.

The team aims to provide support to the wider family of veterans or reservists to ensure the needs of carers and families are also met. 

The HIS teams are highly experienced mental health clinicians and support staff with knowledge of working with the veteran and Armed Forces community. Some staff are military veterans themselves and this enables the team to have a real understanding of the Armed Forces culture. 

How can we help you?

We understand that at times of crisis you may be experiencing a range of very strong emotions such as:

  • Anxiety and fear
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anger or even rage
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Loneliness

You may also need support with a number of other issues:

  • Alcohol/substance misuse
  • Housing
  • Debt
  • Benefits
  • Physical health
  • Employment
  • Social activities
  • Compensation
  • Relationships
  • Adjustment to civilian life

Referrals to Op Courage

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or wellbeing, expert help is available from Op COURAGE. It does not matter if you're due to leave the armed forces, just left the armed forces or left many years ago. The service is available for all veterans and reservists.

Our teams are here to help and understand the courage it takes to speak to someone. When you contact us, you’ll speak to people who understand the armed forces and military life. They are either from the armed forces community or highly experienced in working with serving personnel, reservists, veterans, and their families.

Individuals can access the Op COURAGE by the following:

  • GP contact
  • 24-hour Single Point of Entry (SPE) Line. SPE is managed by charity partner, Mental Health Matters.

Single Point of Entry Telephone 0300 323 0137

Telephone 0300 323 0139 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

Email mevs.mhm@nhs.net to request a referral form from Mental Health Matters.

Information for professionals

Is your patient or service user a military veteran?

Do you need advice about support for a military veteran?

The Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)  operates a single point of enquiry run by Mental Health Matters (MHM), who process all professional and self referrals and allocate patients to the appropriate NHS Veterans Hub.

In exceptional cases, where the veterans experience significant difficulty accessing NHS support, Walking with the Wounded will provide private funded psychology treatment.

The Veterans' Hub at LPFT is staffed by highly skilled clinicians, many of whom are veterans or ex-MOD civil servants. They are able to ensure a culturally sensitive service. Staff have extensive knowledge of the additional charities and organisations that work with military veterans.

Referrals

To make a referral for health care, social care or welfare, professionals should contact Mental Health Matters (MHM). Please ensure you have discussed the referral with your patient and gained their consent prior to making a referral.

MOD (Defence Primary Health Care) Referrals

Are you referring service personnel who are being discharged from the military? If so, the Medical Officer or DCMH Lead Clinician will complete the full referral form (available from your local NHS Veterans Hub or the MHM website) and return to MHM.

Following receipt of your referral to MHM, it will be screened and allocated to the appropriate NHS Veterans Hub. A clinician from the Veterans Hub will contact your patient and offer a comprehensive and holistic assessment of need within 10 working days.

Assessments will take place at the Hub, the patients home, Skype, or one of the many alternative sites depending on what the patient prefers. A care plan will be co-produced. This will be specifically tailored to each individual. It will highlight both their identified needs and the relevant agencies that can meet them, utilising the many military charities.

Self-referral

Single point of entry Telephone 0300 323 0137 (24 Hours a day, 365 days a year)

Helpline Telephone 0300 323 0139

Professional referral

Email mevs.mhm@nhs.net to request a referral form from Mental Health Matters

Op Courage logo

Information for veterans

Midlands and East Veterans Service (MEVS)

Other useful resources

Combat Stress 

Telephone 01952 822 753                    24 hour telephone 0800 138 1619 

Combat Stress website

Togetherall

Togetherall contact page

Togetherall website

Armed Forces Covenant Website

Armed Forces Covenant contact page

Armed Forces Covenant website

Veterans Gateway

Telephone 08‍08 80‍2 12‍12

Veterans Gateway website                                                   

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