NHS veterans’ mental health services in England

On 25 January 2016, NHS England launched an engagement, supported by a questionnaire, to find out people’s views of NHS veterans’ mental health services and to explore the reasons why some people have not sought or received support and treatment.

See here for a copy of the engagement report and to find out what people said. The findings have helped to inform the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service and the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service.

Mental health services for those leaving the armed forces and veterans

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service

This is a dedicated local community based service for veterans and those transitioning out of the British armed forces with a discharge date.

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.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service

This is an enhanced local community based service for ex-service personnel who have military attributable complex mental health problems that have not improved with earlier care and treatment.

The service provides intensive care and treatment that may include (but is not limited to) support for substance misuse, physical health, employment, accommodation, relationships and finances, as well as occupational and trauma focused therapies.

Getting help

Both of these services are available across England and are provided by specialists in mental health who have an expert understanding of the armed forces. They also help to manage care and support across other organisations.  Families and carers can find it hard to cope when their loved ones aren’t well, so where appropriate, help may be provided to them too.

Access to both of these services is through the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service.  This can be done by contacting the service direct (see below for contact details) or by a GP or military charity referral.

Access criteria

To access these services as a veteran, patients must:

  • be a resident in England
  • have served in the UK armed forces for a full day
  • be registered with a GP practice in England or be willing to register with a GP
  • be able to provide their military service number or another form of acceptable proof of eligibility.

To access these services as a member of the armed forces approaching discharge, patients must:

  • be a resident in England
  • have an identified or diagnosed mental health illness/disorder; and
  • have a discharge date from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) or be found to be unfit for continued military service by their medical board; or
  • have been identified by the Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) as requiring follow on psychiatric care on discharge from the MOD; or
  • have had their pre-release medical and been identified by their Defence Medical Services (DMS) GP as requiring mental health transition support; or
  • have had a pre-release medical before they self-refer.

Upon receipt of referral, patients will be offered an initial face to face assessment within two weeks and a first clinical appointment, where appropriate, two weeks thereafter.

Visit the NHS website for more information.