Launched in October 2011, the South West Veterans Mental Health Service is a partnership between AWP and Combat Stress, the Veterans Mental Health Charity, designed to deliver improved care and support to former service personnel who suffer mental health problems as a result of their military experiences. With the South West hosting approximately 42,000 serving service personnel and a high number of veterans, support of this kind is clearly needed.
We want to encourage veterans and their families to recognise the signs of problems looming, understand the issues that influence this and help them find the expert support that they need. We are doing this by setting up a network of contact points around the South West, including mental health trusts, charities and other related organisations.
One of the key tools of the new service is the website www.swveterans.org.uk which offers advice, guidance, links, comments from other veterans and a helpline number allowing veterans or their families to self-refer to support services.