Sometimes the experiences people have during their military service or after their transition to civilian life can trigger problems with their mental health and well-being. These can include anxiety, depression, a problem with controlling anger, alcohol and drug misuse, sleep problems, problems with adjustment and post traumatic stress disorder. Such issues may present many years after leaving the Armed Forces. Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust is here to help military veterans including reservists understand those issues and help people to address them.
We have appointed a post within the Trust to lead on Veterans’ mental health practice development and to enhance staff capability within this arena. An understanding of military culture and the mental health issues some military veterans may face will enable staff throughout the Trust to help those who have served in the HM Armed Forces address any mental health difficulties they may have.
For professional advice please contact the duty clinician on 0800 652 2867 or email VTILS@cntw.nhs.uk
A range of self help guides and useful information is also available in the Patient Information section of the Trust’s website at www.cntw.nhs.uk
Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)
NHS England has launched a brand new mental health service, known officially as the NHS transition, intervention and liaison (TIL) veterans’ mental health service. It has been specially tailored to support and treat ex-armed forces veterans and service personnel who are approaching discharge and provides a range of treatment and support. 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. Patients are also provided with help, where appropriate, with employment, reduction in alcohol consumption, housing and social support.
Available across England, service personnel approaching discharge and veterans will be able to either self-refer or request referral via their GP or mental health provider or through a military charity like Combat Stress, the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and SSAFA
The three main elements of the service are as follows:
Transition (service for those leaving the armed forces):
The service will work with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to offer mental health support for armed forces personnel approaching discharge.
Intervention (service for veterans with complex mental health issues):
Service personnel approaching discharge and veterans will have an assessment and if their needs are identified as more complex, they will be offered an appointment at the TIL veterans’ mental health service. This will be with a clinician who has an expert understanding of armed forces life and culture. They may also be supported by a care coordinator who will liaise with other services and organisations to ensure a coordinated approach to their care.
Liaison (general service for veterans):
Patients who do not have complex presentations, yet would benefit from NHS care, will be referred into local mainstream NHS mental health services where they will receive treatment and support.
Anyone wishing to access the service should call 0800 652 2867
Links to useful websites
Royal British Legion
How to get referred
All referrals accepted. Please telephone 0800 652 2867 or email VTILS@cntw.nhs.uk
Veterans’ High Intensity Service
The Veterans’ High Intensity Service (HIS), led by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, provides care and treatment for former armed forces personnel (veterans) who are in a mental health crisis and need urgent help. Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust will be a key delivery partner, alongside veterans’ support charities Combat Stress and Walking with the Wounded
The service provides:
• Support to crisis care services for veterans presenting in a mental health crisis
• Support during an inpatient unit stay – including access to a clinician advice line 24 hours a day, seven days a week
• Care navigation – helping veterans and their carers find the local services best suited to their needs, and
• Support and care for family members and carers where they need it.
The benefits for Veterans include:
• Personalised care closer to home with greater opportunity for family, friend and carer involvement
• Less need to travel for specialist treatment
• A service that has been designed by veterans, for veterans and that employs veterans – improving their experience and likely engagement with treatment
• Shorter stays in inpatient units or hospitals
• A joined up experience of care – reducing the feeling of being passed around the system
• A better experience for veterans struggling with mental health problems, leading to improved health and lives, and reduced hospital stays and serious incidents.
The team includes psychologists, mental health professionals and Veteran Liaison and Support Officers – some of whom will be veterans themselves.
Find out more about how we in the High Intensity Service support veterans’ in mental health crisis by working with locally-based services across our region in this short animation.
For further details on the High Intensity Service please visit Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust