Understanding around the implications on mental health due to being in the UK Armed Forces is increasing every year. Finding help is the first step, and this is the right place to start.

The number of mental health services across the UK increases every year. In particular, there is a growing awareness around the needs of the ex-military. This does not just relate to the ex-service personnel, but their family and associates.

Common Mental Health Issues for Ex-Military Members

There have been many misconceptions around ex-military personnel, including stigmas that suggest all veterans suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This stigmatisation has discouraged some employers from hiring ex-military personnel and is something we are trying to change.

However, there must be an acknowledgement that veterans are at a higher risk of getting certain mental health issues. A number of studies looked at the chances of veterans having certain mental health issues, and these findings emerged:

  • Nearly 20% have a common mental health disorder, not including PTSD
  • Those deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan have a greater likelihood of misusing alcohol
  • 4% reported experiencing probable PTSD

Local Services

There are community services across the UK. The government and the NHS have established these within two networks that help to provide standardised and quality support across the country.

This means that wherever you are, you or your family can get the help required.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

This service is one of the two localised services that is the first point of contact for anyone leaving the military.

The NHS Veterans’ TILS helps in several different ways, depending on the needs of the person.

Often, ex-military personnel are encouraged to get in touch with these services as soon as they know they are leaving the service. This will help identify any risks that person faces in the transition into civilian life, or if they already have any issues that need addressing.

Beyond the initial transition, the TILS will help the ex-military personnel or their family intervene and discuss whenever there is a problem. This means anything from finding appropriate therapy to finding the right housing, social or financial support.

To find and access this service near you, head to the dedicated page on the NHS website.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)

Considering the TILS as the first point of contact, the NHS Veterans Complex Treatment Service is for any process that requires further treatment or support.

The ex-military personnel will only move into this service should earlier care and treatment fail or be found to be inefficient. As such, you will likely be referred to the appropriate service through your local TILS.

The service can provide intensive care and treatment for a range of issues, including drug or alcohol misuse, trauma therapy and disability treatment.

National Charities

Alongside the government and NHS treatments there are a number of national charities that will offer as much support as they can to you or your family member. Two such charities include the Mental Health Foundation and Combat Stress.