Improving access to mental health services for military veterans

Military veterans living in Greater Manchester will be given extra support to access mental health services, thanks to a pilot partnership scheme.

The scheme will develop various projects to help veterans overcome barriers to accessing mental health services. These will include increased use of peer support, the development of veteran champion roles in services, production of emotional wellbeing resources tailored to veterans’ needs, and improved routes into training and employment – all of which will be developed with the direct input of veterans and the wider armed forces community.

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, which has been providing specialist mental health services for ex-service personnel since 2011 through the Military Veterans’ Service, will work in partnership with Walking With the Wounded, Veterans In Communities and Inspiration NW, to deliver the scheme.

Commissioned by NHS England as a pilot, the scheme has a particular focus on veterans who are at greater risk of developing mental health problems, for example, those who leave the forces early, or in difficult circumstances, as well as reservists. It is hoped the partnership work will be rolled out nationally and used to help shape the way veterans across the country access mental health services, ensuring easy access when they need support.

Dr Alan Barrett, Clinical Lead for the Military Veterans’ Service, said: “I’m delighted that Greater Manchester has been chosen to develop new ways of supporting veterans who are experiencing mental health issues. It’s an exciting opportunity to work with veterans, their loved ones and the wider community, and it keeps Greater Manchester at the forefront of innovative partnership working to meet the needs of our local population.”

Members of the veteran and wider armed forces community who are interested in being involved in or volunteering for the project should contact the Military Veterans’ Service by emailing the.mvs@nhs.net, calling 0300 323 0707 or tweeting @MVS_GM