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New service will help military veterans with mental health issues
A new service to help Armed Forces veterans with mental health problems will be launched by Help for Heroes at its recovery centre in Tidworth.
The charity is setting up a psychological support programme called Hidden Wounds, which is an early intervention service to help veterans and their families suffering stress, depression and anxiety before they develop into more serious mental health conditions.
Help for Heroes is spending £4.8 million and it has a grant of £2.7 million from the Armed Forces Compensation fund to pay for the scheme for five years.
Bryn Parry, co-founder and chief executive of Help for Heroes, said: “Many of us can only try to imagine the considerable mental strain that members of the Armed Forces face, often for months at a time while abroad on operations. It can take real courage to access support for mental injuries and the Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds programme is designed to offer easily accessible and friendly support which prevents a spiral of decline.
“Those who have remained at home while their loved one is serving face similar challenges and this new service will offer them access to specialist support they so desperately need.”
The charity’s recovery centre at Tedworth House in Tidworth will be the first centre to offer the new service. The service will also be provided at its recovery centres in Catterick and Colchester.
Four full time psychologists will work in each location with a capacity to see a total of 3,000 people a year with mild or moderate mental illnesses.
The service will provide cognitive behavioural therapy interventions, holistic one to one and group psycho-education and workshops, education on self help guides and other CBT self help material, mental health awareness workshops for families and fellowship and respite support for families.
If a person’s condition is assessed as being too complex, Help for Heroes will refer them to other mental health services such as the NHS or Combat Stress.
Professor Neil Greenberg of the academic centre for defence mental health at King’s College, London, said: “While some veterans and their families who have mental health problems require complex treatment packages, currently there is a gap in provision for those with less complex needs who often have to endure considerable delays to access any professional care or treatment at all.”
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