Health and Wellbeing

Medical, dental and related support services are provided to armed forces personnel by the Ministry of Defence (Defence Medical Services,) and by agreement with the NHS, charities and welfare organisations. For spouses, dependants and veterans who are civilians, health and wellbeing services can be accessed via local doctors, NHS, and local authorities – mainly through commissioning of services and provision offered by health related charities or not for profit sector organisations.

Mental Wellbeing:

Good Mental Health and Wellbeing is important in order to feel good about yourself, to get the most out of your life and to feel connected to others. Good mental health and wellbeing is more than just feeling happy, it is about feeling able to cope when things get tough in your life or your physical health suffers.

There are a range of mental health services and initiatives being delivered by military welfare charities. These are focused on supporting Veterans and can cover a range of mental health conditions from mild depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mind UK has a very good description of PTSD (click).

  • Samaritans: Struggling with your thoughts and wellbeing? Call Samaritans’: free helpline number (116 123) day or night, 365 days a year.  Armed Forces engagement: 100% confidential.  Samaritans are now recording data around callers who are from the Armed Forces Community (including serving personnel, veterans and family members), although the anonymity and details of calls will remain confidential as always. This data can be used to identify trends and issues that are prevalent within the community to help Samaritans and their partners improve the support they provide.

  • The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) delivers wellbeing support services.  Referal is often linked to Doctors surgeries and allied agencies but self-referal too.  NSFT has recently annouced their Veterans wellbeing pathway which will link to Op Courage and veterans focused service partners. Click here for this service annoucement.

  • Op Courage (NHS).  The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service. Specialist care and support for Service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families. Click here for an explanation of the Op Courage service. Referral forms are available by emailing:  mevs@mhm.org.uk or Telephone: 0300 323 0137.
  • Together-All (previously Big White Wall) is an online early intervention service and combines social networking principles with a choice of clinically informed interventions to improve mental wellbeing. As an online resource it can be accessed 24/7 Access provided by the UK Ministry of Defence and NHS England to all serving personnel, veterans and family members. TogetherAll website 

  • Combat Stress is a UK-wide military welfare charity specialising in Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing. If you need our help, do call our free 24-hour Helpline for Veterans, Service personnel, and their families: 0800 138 1619.  www.combatstress.org.uk

  • PTSD Resolution is a national charity which delivers counselling and psychotherapy to Veterans, Reservists, and families, struggling with emotional and behavioural problems.  Delivery is through our network of 200 therapists UK-wide.  Treatment is free, immediately available, local, private, brief, and demonstrably effective.  No referral is needed – simply ring 0845 021 7873 or email contact@ptsdresolution.org to start the process.  Further information, including testimonials, can be found at www.ptsdresolution.org.

  • Walking with the Wounded - Headstart is a mental health pathway in partnership with the NHS and also in collaboration with other service charities.   They are developing a national network of accredited private psychotherapists who have offered their services at a discount to veterans and their families.  The therapists will adopt the NICE guidelines for treatment of PTSD, Common Mental Disorders, such as depression and anxiety and address the often comorbid issue of alcohol misuse.   We compliment current provision and offer choice within the spectrum of available agencies across the landscape of services. http://walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/how-we-help/wwtw-special-projects/

  • Help for Heroes - Hidden Wounds psychological support programme supports veterans and their families who are suffering from the early symptoms of potentially more serious mental injuries. The programme will enhance treatment already available and will help identify and treat symptoms such as stress, depression and anxiety before they develop into more serious mental health conditions. Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds Centres (Colchester) and details on how to access the service (link here).

  • Suffolk Mind is an independent Charity committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of people in Suffolk. Our wide range of services are easy to access and can help address specific issues, including anxiety and anger management, and we also offer more general courses and 1-2-1 support, that can help improve or maintain emotional wellbeing. For further information visit our website www.suffolkmind.org.uk or call us on 0300 111 6000

Combat2Coffee

We are an Ipswich based not for profit, using coffee as a social and wellbeing engagement tool. Our Coffee Hub in Ipswich Town Centre is where we serve coffee, but also use that contact to have conversations about wellbeing and promote support services available for veterans and their families. We train aspiring baristas and support the skills and community engagement of veterans in custody - have established coffee bean roasteries in local prisons which support veterans in custody. As lockdown releases, we’ll be back attending community events with our Combat2Coffee mobile units. Visit our website and follow our social media. Changing the world with one sip at a time!  For further information visit our website and links to social media https://www.combat2coffee.co.uk/

Support for Substance Misuse and Recovery

Drug and Alcohol misuse are closely linked to personal health and wellbeing, often cited as masking mental health issues and has a wide range of negative impacts for individuals, families, affected others and communities.  Suffolk Public Health commissions a range of local support and recovery services aimed at supporting people suffering from substance misuse (Website).

  • Outisde the Wire is a veterans substance misuse support service delivered through The Matthew Project charty.  Mark Harris is the Recovery Worker for Suffolk.  Initial enquiries to the office: 01603 626123 or via online referal. Website link here

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Are you drinking too much, need help with your drinking, have a problem with your drinking, are other people commenting about your drinking, can’t stop drinking.  Alcoholics Anonymous has a number of local support groups in Suffolk.  https://www.aainsuffolk.co.uk/.   AA's sister organisation, Al-Anon: https://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/ supports families and friends who care about a suffering alcoholic.

Gambling Addiction

Gambling can have significant impacts on relationships, finances, and mental wellbeing.  Charity Breakeven offers a free counselling service for anyone who is affected by problem gambling..  Our Ipswich office is located at Suffolk Enterprise Centre and we also have more offices nearby in Colchester, Norwich and Newmarket.  Visit our website for more information http://www.breakeven.org.uk/