NHS England is asking armed forces veterans to share their experience of mental health services and help improve future care across the country.
The launch of a national survey will help improve the care available for veterans as they move from military to civilian life.
The survey is a chance for veterans to share their experiences and views of existing mental health services and to understand the reasons why some people have not sought or received support and treatment. In addition to seeking views from veterans, family members and carers, as well as staff and organisations that are providing treatment and support in this area are all able to take part.
The NHS currently provides 12 mental health services across England specifically for veterans. They enable specialist staff to care for ex-forces personnel with mental health needs, direct them to the most appropriate service and give them effective treatment. With new contracts due in the next year, this is an opportunity to develop future services that take account of current experiences.
Dr Jonathan Leach, Chair of NHS England’s Armed Forces and their Families Clinical Reference Group, said: “On leaving the armed forces, most people successfully transition back into civilian life. But some individuals can experience very traumatic situations whilst serving in the military before facing the additional challenges of moving back into civilian life, all of which can take a severe toll.
“While mental health awareness is improving, we can do more to identify issues not just with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but with wider problems linked to anxiety and depression. We are asking for feedback from veterans, their families and NHS specialists so that the right care and support is available early and easily for those who need it.”