Veterans offered mental health support

Military stress web

Combat Stress is setting up peer support groups across the UK

15th May 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Veterans struggling with life after the military are being urged to utilise a new support service.

Mental health charity Combat Stress has created a new peer support service.

Led by veterans for veterans, the initiative is the first of its kind for those with mental health problems in the UK.

Funded by the Royal British Legion, it is aimed at those whose mental health has been affected by their time in the armed forces, or who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation after leaving the military.

So far 28 groups have been established by the charity in towns and cities around the UK, with more planned.

Carol Smith, director of client services at Combat Stress, said the service offers former servicemen and women a chance to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others who have had similar experiences.

"Research has suggested that social support has a positive impact on mental health and the effects of trauma,” she said. “Peer support aims to help by increasing social interaction amongst individuals who may otherwise feel isolated or stigmatised."

Veterans who have been supported by or worked for Combat Stress are co-ordinating the regional groups. They include James Saunders who served for six years in the Royal Artillery and overcame injuries associated with his experiences in the Gulf War.

He said: "Mental health problems can make even the simplest things seem hard to do but this service is a way for veterans to easily access support and advice. Veterans have the chance to come along to small group meetings or to meet the regional co-ordinators individually."

Veterans with mental health problems can call the Combat Stress 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 138 1619 to be referred to the service.