The NHS announced the launch of Op Courage which brings together specialist services for veterans. This welcomed news means Veterans can access Mental Health services much easier and quicker.
Armed forces veterans suffering a mental health crisis will receive specialist care as part of a new Op Courage service launched by NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens today.
Doctors, nurses and other NHS staff will work with military charities to provide therapy, rehab services and, in extreme cases, inpatient care to hundreds of former soldiers, sailors and RAF personnel each year.
Those needing urgent help will receive a same day referral.
The “high intensity” treatment has already been trialled in some areas and will be rolled out across the country by next month as part of Op Courage, which brings together specialist services for veterans.
Involving charities will help NHS staff to understand the experiences and issues faced by those who have risked their lives for their country and may have lost comrades or been injured themselves.
It also helps to integrate veterans with mental ill health back in to everyday life.
Over the last two years the health service has expanded mental health services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
More than 13,000 former troops have benefited from specialist care for lower level problems such as anxiety and depression. Almost 2,000 more have received help for more complex problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The new service, which is expected to treat around 500 people a year, will focus on those in crisis, at risk of self-harm or suicide, or suffering other problems such as homelessness and addiction.
Veterans will be able to access any of the three tiers of treatment from a single Op Courage service in each of the seven NHS regions.
Other commitments laid out in the plan include ensuring access to quality secondary care, reducing healthcare inequalities, helping with the transition to civilian life and increased support for vets’ families, children and carers.
There are around 2.4 million veterans living in the UK and around one in 20 will suffer from PTSD. A smaller number will have severe and complex mental health needs.
HOW TO CONTACT OP COURAGE: THE VETERANS MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING SERVICE
In London or the South East of England, call 020 3317 6818 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the North of England, call 0303 123 1145 or email email@example.com
In the Midlands or East of England, call 0300 323 0137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the South West of England, call 0300 365 2000 or email email@example.com
If you experience a mental health crisis (when you no longer feel able to cope or are not in control of your situation) you can contact Op COURAGE The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service or you can get help by calling 111, booking an emergency GP appointment, visiting A&E or calling 999.
If you're still serving, you can also call the Military Mental Health Helpline on 0800 323 4444.