08 November 2021
Mental Health Trust gave me second chance at career, says veteran
An Armed Forces veteran, who had to be discharged from service
because of his mental health, is using his experience to help and
support other people with mental health conditions.
Research indicates that up to 50% of veterans can experience
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression after
leaving active service as a result of trauma, exposure to combat
and injury. Their mental health problems can often be made worse by
the transition to civilian life, the breakdown of relationships and
the loss of social support networks, with many veterans vulnerable
to social exclusion and homelessness.
Simon, who served 10 years in the Royal Marines, was supported
to recover by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP)
NHS Trust. He is now employed by the Trust as a Support, Time and
Recovery Worker, using his lived experience to help other people
with mental health conditions to connect with others and build
self-esteem and confidence.
Simon said: "Recovering from a mental illness can be a long and
challenging journey. There were times when I felt as if I would
never feel good about myself again, so to be able to use my own
experience of a mental health condition to support others who are
in a similar situation gives me a real sense of pride and purpose.
I am really pleased to have been given a second chance at a
worthwhile and fulfilling career."
In recognition of the opportunities, support and treatment it
provides to veterans with mental health conditions, and its
commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists and
serving members of the Armed Forces, AWP was recently named a
Veteran Aware Trust by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance
To achieve the Veteran Aware status, the Trust has demonstrated
it is committed to:
Ensuring that the armed forces community is treated equally, in
line with the NHS's commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant;
Ensuring staff working in veterans services are highly trained
to support veteran specific culture and needs; and
Making veterans, reservists and service families aware of
appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as
mental health services, or support with financial and/or benefit
As well as employing and supporting veterans, one of AWP's
Non-Executive Directors is a commander in the Royal Air Force
The Trust has also signed the Armed Forces Covenant,
acknowledging the value that veterans, like Simon, serving
personnel, reservists and military families bring to their
communities. As part of the covenant, the Trust has pledged to:
Promote itself as an armed forces-friendly organisation;
Support the employment of veterans;
Strive to support the employment of service spouses and
Support AWP staff who choose to be members of the reserve
Support local cadet units, either in the community or in local
schools, where possible; and
Actively participate in Armed Forces Day.
Simon added: The signing of this covenant shows that the Trust
is making a commitment to veterans and their families. Veterans and
military personal have lots of transferable skills that would make
them ideal employees for the Trust. They are diligent, hard working
and committed and to know that there are opportunities for them
once they leave the services is really positive."
Sarah Jones, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality, at AWP,
said: "We are delighted to be recognised as a Veteran Aware Trust.
We know that veterans can experience very traumatic situations
during their careers, which can lead to mental health
difficulties. However, with the right help and support they
can recover and lead fulfilling lives with an alternative career.
We consider ourselves very lucky to have Simon as part of our
workforce and his contribution and dedication to helping others is
admirable. We have always and will continue to support any
member of staff who is a reservist by accommodating their training
and deployment wherever possible and we welcome applications from
any veterans and their spouses and partners of as part of our