Health and wellbeing support
There are a range of services and support to help with your health and wellbeing. As well as the services below, there is also more information on our health and wellbeing section of the website.
Healthcare – NHS armed forces
When you leave the army, your healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS.
You can take a look at the different services that are offered for veterans (opens in new window) on the NHS and information about priority treatment (opens in new window). You can also find out the answers to questions you may have (opens in new window).
If you're worried about something in particular, you can take a look to find services within the NHS (opens in new window).
Remember to let them know you're ex-armed forces as this may help you access services and treatment.
Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme
The Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme (VRMHP) (opens in new window) provides mental health assessments for veterans and reservists who have concerns about their mental health as a result of service.
If you've served in the UK forces and now have hearing loss, tinnitus or both, you may be able to get help to access the Royal British Legion's veterans hearing fund.
You can call 0333 455 9116 or visit veterans hearing support (opens in new window) to find out more.
Register with a Doctor and a Dentist
You’ll need to register with a GP and dentist close to where you live. You can search to find a GP (opens in new window) and find a dentist (opens in new window). Once you’ve found one close to you, you can give them a call to register and book an appointment. Remember to tell them that you've served as this will help your GP to better understand any health conditions and refer you if appropriate to dedicated services for ex-forces.
It's important to give your new GP a copy of your military medical centre paperwork. This will help to make sure that your military health records are transferred to your NHS health record.
Support for people with physical injuries
BLESMA – the limbless veterans
BLESMA (opens in new window) is dedicated to helping service and ex-servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss or use of a limb, an eye or loss of sight. BLESMA supports these men and women in their communities throughout the UK.
BLESMA works for members when the conflicts that have affected their lives are no longer the focal point in the nation's media. Modern medicine transforms the physical injury, but it's a complicated process to treat the emotional trauma and related lifelong problems.
Telephone: 0208 590 1124
Blind Veterans UK (opens in new window) believe that no one who has served our country should battle blindness alone. Blind Veterans UK provide vision impaired armed forces and national service veterans with the person-centred services and tailored support they need to discover life beyond sight loss.
Blind Veterans UK's work ranges from helping veterans re-learn vital life skills and providing them with the tools they need to be independent in their own homes, to offering new learning, training and recreation opportunities and providing long-term nursing, residential and respite care.
Telephone: 020 7723 5021
Help for Heroes
Help for Heroes (opens in new window) provides a range of support and services for wounded, injured and sick service (regular and reserves) and ex-service personnel who have suffered illness or injuries in serving the nation. Help for Heroes does this through services such as:
- recovery centres in Tidworth (Wiltshire), Catterick, Colchester and Plymouth
- the Hidden Wounds service (psychological wounds)
- welfare support
- grants to individuals and other charitable agencies
- fellowships of ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘Band of Sisters’
Support for people with mental health issues
Starting a conversation about mental health and wellbeing is the first step towards suicide prevention. Talking about mental health doesn't have to be scary and can actually have a massive impact on someones life. Find out more about our Alright Pal campaign (opens in new window).
Big White Wall
The Big White Wall (opens in new window) is an online mental health support service for veterans and those currently serving, their families and carers, as well as other communities. It’s an online support group which aims to reduce the stigma of mental ill health.
It's free and anonymous for service and ex-service personnel. All they need to do is register.
CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (opens in new window), or CALM, is a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. It offers support to men of any age, who are down or in crisis, through their helpline and website.
Telephone: 0800 585 858
Combat Stress (opens in new window) is the UK's leading veterans' mental health charity. It currently helps more than 4,400 veterans to rebuild their lives. It looks after veterans with a wide range of mental health issues, offering two integrated services:
- short-stay clinical treatment at one of their specialist centres in Ayrshire, Shropshire or Surrey
- community outreach, to bring clinical care and welfare support to veterans in their local areas.
Treatment and support services are always free of charge, and are proven to work.
Telephone: 0800 138 1619 or 01372 587000
Help for Heroes – Hidden Wounds
The Help for Heroes psychological wellbeing service, Hidden Wounds (opens in new window), can help veterans and armed forces families living with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or alcohol. It's here to help individuals find ways of dealing with frustration and to help them to start enjoying everyday life again. Free and confidential support is delivered by psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs) by phone, Skype or face to face.
Telephone: 0845 6731760
Committed to supporting people and helping them gain good mental health, MIND offer a wide range of services. For more information, visit the MIND website (opens in new window).
NHS Mental Health Services
NHS mental health services are provided throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These include IAPT (improving access to psychological services), which provide a front line service and access to other mental health services and support. Many areas have developed veteran-specific support mechanisms such as the ‘ex-armed forces' project' (opens in new window) provided by Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust.
NHS also offer complex mental health treatment for the armed forces community. Find out more about the NHS's mental health services on the NHS website (opens in new window).
The Samaritans is a confidential service to talk to any time you like, in your own way.
The Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. The Samaritans work to alleviate emotional distress and reduce the incidence of suicidal feelings and suicidal behaviour. They do this by being available 24 hours a day to provide emotional support for people who are struggling to cope, including those who have had thoughts of suicide.
For more information, visit the Samaritans website (opens in new window).
The Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison (TIL) Service (formerly known as London Veterans’ Service LVS) offer free mental health support to ex-serving members. Find out more about the TIL website (opens in new window).