Veterans' mental health
Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service
A number of service personnel and veterans are experiencing mental health problems and/or will be living in conditions which we would expect to adversely affect their mental wellbeing.
Annually 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) and more recently the Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS). Together these form a complete mental health care pathway.
Informed by feedback from veterans and their families, all NHS specialist veterans mental health services will now come under one new name from March 2021: 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 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, said:
"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.”
The Veterans’ Mental Health TIL 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 to ensure 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 with other needs that may affect mental health and well-being, for example housing, finances and employment, reducing alcohol consumption, and social support.
TILS is a unique collaboration of multi-national award winning NHS Trusts and two highly credible charities specialising in mental health and veterans. Our dedicated team of mental health clinicians, many of whom are ex-MOD or veterans themselves, are here to support you.
LPFT are the lead provider to deliver the Veterans' Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS) Midlands, which launched on 1 October 2020. The Midlands HIS is a new specialist community service working in conjunction with the current veterans' specialist mental health services under Op COURAGE and alongside established NHS mental health services to enhance those already available when an individual is in mental health crisis.
The service provides an intensive package of support to a limited number of veterans and their families. It is a unique collaboration of award-winning NHS Trusts and charities specialising in veterans' mental health. The Trust is working in partnership with Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, to deliver the service across the Midlands. 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 teams are based in three locations across the Midlands, in Lincoln, Coventry and Birmingham, and provide a range of interventions to assist with complex mental health difficulties. The team also aim 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.
Watch Stephen's incredible story about his mental health journey as a veteran on YouTube. After several difficult months, with the support of the Veterans' Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS) Midlands Team, Stephen can now see a brighter future for himself and his family. He wants to inspire other struggling veterans to take that first step in asking for help because there is hope and specialist support available.
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, and 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 contacting their GP or by calling the 24-hour Single Point of Entry (SPE) Line. SPE is managed by charity partner, Mental Health Matters.
Single Point of Entry - 0300 323 0137
24/7 helpline - 0300 323 0139
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a referral form from Mental Health Matters.
Information for veterans
- Midlands and East Veterans Service (MEVS)
- Transition Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) leaflet
- High Intensity Service (HIS) leaflet
- Veterans Service Professionals leaflet
Other useful resources
- Telephone: 01952 822 753 and 24-hr helpline telephone: 0800 138 1619
Big White Wall
Armed Forces Convenant Website