We want to support former armed forces personnel, reservists and their families, who work in health or social care.
If you have ever served in the UK armed forces or reserves, you are a ‘veteran’ and can access specialist support from a wide range of organisations.
Here are some of the services that can help you and your family.
NHS services for veterans
OpCOURAGE is the specialist NHS service to help UK military veterans and reserves get the right treatment and support for their mental health and wellbeing.
It doesn’t matter how long ago you left the armed forces or if you only served for a short time, you can contact OpCOURAGE as long as you have completed one day of service - even if you left many years ago.
OpCOURAGE understand military life. Everyone who works there is either from the armed forces community or has extensive experience of working with veterans and their families.
They can help you get help for many different difficulties, including:
- Alcohol and drug use
- Controlling anger and frustration
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Gambling issues
- Low mood
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Problems with moving on from life in the military
- Trouble sleeping
- Worrying too much
To find out more about OpCOURAGE in the South Central region, including self-help resources and how to refer yourself directly, visit: www.berkshirehealthcare.nhs.uk/opcourage
If you live outside Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire or the Isle of Wight, details for your local service can be found at: www.nhs.uk/opcourage
- If you're in need of immediate help, call NHS 111 and let them know you're a veteran. In an emergency always dial 999.
Community and voluntary support for veterans
- All Call Signs Chat service for vulnerable vets and serving soldiers : A peer-to-peer communication app for Veterans and serving Military personnel. It’s manned by volunteers who understand the stresses and struggles that come with daily life in and after service.
- Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs : Facilitating veterans to meet face to face in a relaxed, safe, social environment.
- Combat Stress : If you have served, are currently serving in the UK Armed Forces or are a family member, you can call the Combat Stress’ 24-hour mental health helplines on 0800 138 1619. You can also text on 07537 173683 and email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cruse Bereavement Care helpline : Bereavement support for anyone, no matter how long they’ve been grieving. Cruse is ready to support Veterans or their families struggling due to the operation in Afghanistan, the Ukraine invasion or elsewhere. Call 0808 808 1677
- HeadFIT : Online health and wellbeing resources for current or ex-service personnel.
- Help for Heroes : Run programmes like Hidden Wounds, for ex-armed forces personnel requiring psychological support. Visit their website or call 01980 844280, or 0808 2020 144.
- Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund : Support for current and former RAF personnel and their families, including: financial assistance; emotional wellbeing support; relationship counselling, and telephone friendship groups.
- SSAFA: The armed forces charity : Providing confidential support and signposting for serving and ex-service personnel from the Armed Forces and their families. Can be accessed via live chat here: Forcesline | SSAFA, or call 0800 260 6767.
- The Ripple Pond: Peer support for adult family members of physically or psychologically injured British Armed Forces personnel and veterans.
- The Royal British Legion : Provides signposting and support to veterans and their families. Contact their helpline at: 0808 802 8080 open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week. There is also an online chat on their website, as well as a link to find a local centre.
- Togetherall : A free online service for anyone with mental health difficulties, including serving personnel, veterans, and their families, to talk about what’s troubling them. The service is completely anonymous and provided 24/7.
- Veterans Gateway : The Veterans Gateway provides a single point of contact for veterans seeking advice and support. They put veterans and their families in touch with other organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need. Call 0808 802 1212 or visit www.veteransgateway.org.uk
- Veterans UK : Offer information on claiming AFCS, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Medical Discharges and Pension Forecast Requests. They also assist with other benefits, housing and welfare issues. Support is available from 8am –5pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0808 1914 218 or email: email@example.com