New mental health service for armed forces veterans

A new service that helps armed forces veterans get quicker access to mental health support has been launched in Sussex.

The service, provided by the new London and South East NHS Veterans Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison (TIL) Service, is a collaboration between Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

The service is available to any ex-member of the armed forces. It can also support those who are up to six months away from being discharged and are preparing to transition to civilian life.

It helps veterans to access treatment and support for mental health issues, as well as providing therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties and psychological trauma.

Veterans can refer themselves, or they can be referred by their GP, social worker, or representative from armed forces support charities.

As well as operating in Sussex, support is available to ex-service personnel living in, or registered with a GP in, Surrey, Kent and Medway, London and Greater London.

Vicki Pattenden, Sussex Partnership’s Clinical Nurse Specialist within the South East Veterans Service, said: “It is all about getting veterans the right care at the right time. The earlier they get help the better, so we’re offering them a direct route into mental health services and access to care which is tailored to their very specific needs.

“Transitioning from military to civilian life is a big change, and it can be even more of a struggle if you are experiencing mental health challenges. There are frequently other stresses as well, for example housing and money issues, and we can help by directing veterans to the support they need before they reach crisis point.”