09 September 2013

Promoting understanding of military veterans

SWVets 090913

AWP's Stuart Haywood has been telling BBC Radio Bristol about the mental health needs of military veterans.

People serving in the armed forces face the same mental health issues as other people but what is different is the context in which mental health problems occur and devlop in the armed forces.

Stuart, in his role as one of the South West Veterans' Mental Health Service (SWVets) specialist practitioners, was talking to John Darvall on Radio Bristol earlier this week to help explore some of the issues that veterans can face: "Military staff are sent into a dangerous and traumatic situation, which they are expected to deal with and then come back and take part in everyday life.

"This makes it difficult to acknowledge something is wrong and to talk about it. Often it is the family and friends who first notice something is awry. Also, the nature of the job means the person does not have the time to step away from the situation and do something about it. In some cases, it can be years between an incident occurring and seeking help."

John Darvell agreed that whilst there is excellent support for veterans in respect of physical rehabilitation, less is known in the NHS about mental health issues in the forces.

To this end, SWVets is launching a new training event to raise the clinician's awareness and understanding of the nature of the issues affecting military veterans and their families when they present with psychological problems. The course is also open to non-clinical staff.

Well done Stuart on a great interview.

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