There are an estimated 5 million veterans in the UK, and a further 20,000 personnel leave the forces each year. Veterans’ mental health problems often stem from incidents during their service career, but may be made worse or caused by post-service factors, such as the difficulty in making the transition to civilian life, marital problems, and loss of family and social support networks.
It is completely normal to experience anxiety or depression after traumatic events. This can be tough for veterans to deal with, and the culture of the armed forces can make seeking help for a mental health problem appear difficult. Some people may not experience some of these symptoms for a few years after leaving the armed forces, or they may put off seeking help.
If you are a veteran or know someone who is, there are local organisations that can offer help and support. Seeking help early can prevent problems getting worse and help you to feel better more quickly.
Visit your GP who can give you advice and make a referral to other services. Make sure that they know you are a HM Forces veteran as you should receive priority treatment where it relates to a condition which results from their service in the armed forces subject to clinical need.
Other organisations who can offer support
Change Grow Live – for help with alcohol or substance misuse - 01604 211 304
Help vulnerable adults and young people to understand the risks their drug or alcohol use pose to their health and wellbeing, and support them to reduce or stop their use safely. Once stability or abstinence has been achieved, we provide aftercare to help maintain recovery and prevent the possibility of a relapse.
They also work with families, children and carers who are affected by the drug or alcohol use of a family member or friend.
Legion Line: 0800 802 8080 open 8am-8pm, 7 days per week
Telephone: 01604 603899
Combat Stress - the leading Veterans' mental health charity in the UK providing treatment for ex-Service personnel suffering with mental ill-health including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
Further information about the support available to the Armed Forces is available at http://www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200257/your-community/1643/armed-forces-community-covenant
Combat Stress has a 24/7 helpline - 0800 138 1619
Royal British Legion has 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week helpline – 0808 802 8080
SSAFA has a national helpline – 0800 731 4880
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