Specialist care and support for Service-leavers, Reservists, Veterans and their families.

Specialist care and support for Service-leavers, Reservists, Veterans and their families.

Off By Ed Hanna

The first call for help takes courage
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or wellbeing, expert help is available from Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.

If you’re due to leave the Armed Forces, just left the Armed Forces or left many years ago, Op COURAGE is here to help. You will be able to speak to people who:

  • understand the Armed Forces and military life
  • are either from the Armed Forces community or highly experienced in working with Serving personnel, Reservists, Veterans and their families
  • will work with you to make sure you get the right type of specialist care, support, and treatment.

The service can be contacted directly by yourself or you can ask your GP, a charity or someone else, such as a family member or friend, to do this on your behalf. 

What will happen when you contact Op COURAGE
To make sure you get the right care and support, you will first have an assessment by someone who understands the specific needs of the Armed Forces community.

The service offers a range of treatment, which includes:

  • working with Defence Medical Services to make sure you get mental health care and support as you transition from the military to civilian life
  • recognising the early signs of mental health problems and providing care and treatment for this therapeutic treatment for more advanced mental health conditions and psychological trauma
  • intensive emergency care and treatment if you’re in a crisis helping you to access other NHS services if needed, such as psychological therapies (IAPT) services and eating disorder services www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/
  • working with charities and local organisations to support you with your wider health and wellbeing needs, such as housing, relationships, finances, employment, drug and alcohol misuse and social support.

Support for your family
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and wellbeing difficulties, the rest of the family can be affected. The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service can help your family get care and support from local services. With your permission, they can also be involved in your care plan.

Rob Shenton, an Army veteran who served for 25 years, with tours to Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. He is an NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice representative and shares his support for other veterans.

“I have served two tours in Afghanistan and the news over the past few days has been hard to take, I finally had to turn off social media and the news channels. 

If you are struggling with your mental fitness, get to Op COURAGE.  Trusting people was difficult for me when I left the forces, it still is.  But I am so glad I trusted Op COURAGE. Things are never going to perfect with my mental health, but they can be easier. Ask for help, get that help and hopefully start on path to becoming part of the community again.”  

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is the new overarching name for the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) and Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS). This new name was developed by the Armed Forces community to make it easier for those leaving the military and Veterans to find help. The services themselves have not changed.

For more information, visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/opcourage
Follow us: @NHSArmedForces