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.

This questionnaire was live until 31 March 2016, following which responses were analysed to inform an engagement report.

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’, which launched on 1 April 2017.

Mental health services for those leaving the armed forces and veterans

NHS support and treatment

The NHS provides dedicated mental health services across England that offer a range of treatment and support for those due to be discharged from the armed forces and veterans. 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.

The views of veterans and their families have helped to inform these services that build on the success of current provision and seek to provide increased access to local care and treatment across the country in a more uniformed manner. As part of this, the services work closely with a range of organisations to provide a complete package of care to help patients enjoy a healthy life. This includes, where appropriate, providing help with employment, reduction in alcohol consumption, housing and social support.

Getting help

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 MOD or be found to be unfit for continued military service by their medical board; or
  • have been identified by the DCMH as requiring follow on psychiatric care on discharge from the MOD; or
  • have had their pre-release medical and been identified by their DMS GP as requiring mental health transition support; or
  • have had a pre-release medical before they self-refer.

Those people meeting the criteria can self-refer or request referral via a health care professional or service charity. Upon receipt of referral, patients will be offered an initial face to face assessment within two weeks and a first clinical appointment two weeks thereafter. Details of the services are available here.

Visit NHS Choices for more information.