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.

The Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, a consortium of health and wellbeing organisations, have recently launched the Healthy Suffolk website which aims to provide a central information portal.

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. Click here to link to local service provision.

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).

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust supports Veterans and links closely to the Suffolk Wellbeing Service - a community network.

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.

Midlands and East Veteran Service
On 1 April 2017, NHS England launched the transition, intervention and liaison (TIL) mental health service for armed forces personnel approaching discharge and veterans.  The service will seek to provide increased access and treatment to appropriate and timely mental health services for armed forces personnel approaching discharge and veterans with mental health difficulties. This dedicated service is now available in Suffolk.  Referral forms are available by emailing: or Telephone: 0300 323 0137.

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 and has staff (Wall Guides) who ensure the full engagement, safety and anonymity of all members. Big White Wall is a community of people who are experiencing common mental health problems. One of the most important elements of the service is the ability to talk freely, whilst remaining completely anonymous.  The Ministry of Defence and Help for Heroes provide FREE access for UK serving Armed Forces personnel, Veterans and family members during the registration process.


We are a UK-wide military welfare charity specialising in Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing. Mental Health conditions can cause depression, anxiety and, in some cases, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We work with local partners to support veterans who may refer clients to our inpatients, outpatients and community outreach services. A Combat Stress Welfare Officer attends a drop-in surgery every third Thursday of the month from 10.30am – 12.30pm at The Keys, 15 St Margaret’s Street, Ipswich, IP4 2BB. If you need our help, do call our free 24-hour Helpline for Veterans, Service personnel, and their families: 0800 138 1619. 

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 to start the process.  Further information, including testimonials, can be found at

Headstart is one of WWTW integrated programmes providing a mental health pathway in partnership with the NHS and also in collaboration with other service charities which was launched in early 2015.   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.

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. As well as these services we also offer support to veterans through our fully funded First Steps to Wellbeing Course and Peer Support Network training. Both are helpful in managing personal wellbeing and helping people to become more resilient and better able to cope with life’s challenges. For further information visit our website or call us on 0300 111 6000.

A new i-Phone app has been launched to provide serving Armed Forces personnel with mental health support and information. Joining Forces app is available for i-Phone with plans for an Android format coming soon (check your app store). For more information on this (click)

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).

The Matthew Project (substance misuse charity) has developed 'Outside the Wire' as a focused Veterans substance misuse support service using Veterans as trained support workers.  Established in Norfolk in July 2012, in June they secured funding to extend into Suffolk.  Mark Harris is the Recovery Worker for Suffolk .  Initial enquiries to the office: 01603 626123 or via online referal.
Website link here

For advice and support for local Welfare support services please visit the webpage above.

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.   AA's sister organisation, Al-Anon: supports families and friends who care about a suffering alcoholic.