All Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust services are committed to implementing the guiding principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.
Armed Forces Covenant
The government are leading a drive to repay its debt to its veterans through the establishment of the Armed Forces Covenant. The government's Military Covenant is a duty of care to armed forces, a promise to help and support those when in need.
All systems and organisations, including the NHS are obliged to better understand and play their role in supporting our veterans and their families.
Since 2008, veterans and their families have been entitled to priority access to mental health services if problems are related to their military service.
Do you feel that your current problems are related to your/another person's military experience?
Veterans receive priority access to NHS Mental Health Services if their current problems are likely to be service related; therefore services prioritise veterans over other patients with the same level of clinical need. However, veterans are not given priority over other patients with more urgent clinical needs.
Veterans may experience common mental health problems (depression, anxiety, adjustment problems), do you feel your difficulties are linked to physical injuries or psychological distress sustained during active service?
Are you a family member of any ex-service personnel?
Family members of military veterans can access priority NHS Mental Health Services if their problems are viewed as directly related to a family member serving in the Armed Forces.
All Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft) services including all mental health teams are committed to prioritising ex-members of the Armed Forces and their families, with priority services when their needs relate to their service or transition to civilian life. If you are an ex-member of the Armed Forces or a family member please identify yourself when going to your GP or on your first contact with LSCft.
Lancashire Armed Forces Hub
As part of LSCft commitment to ex-members of the Armed Forces (Military Veterans) and their families are a key partner in the new Lancashire Armed Forces Hub.
Lancashire Armed Forces Hub is a partnership between UCLan, Lancashire County Council and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. The Hub will improve the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant across 15 councils by working with key stakeholders from service charities, peer support groups and other organisations in Lancashire that serve the armed forces community.
By talking to ex-service personnel, we found that people who have spent time in the armed forces often have a unique set of skills and quite different needs from the rest of the civilian community. This means that many veterans find it difficult to adjust to life outside of the military.
Many veterans can get back on track with relatively little help, especially if they seek help early. Others need more support, particularly if they have lived with their problems for a long time.
We also know that those who serve in the Territorial Army/Reserves are at greater risk of developing mental health problems after deployment than regulars.
We can help with any of the following issues:
Feelings of anger and frustration
- Relationship difficulties
- Feeling down or depressed
- Feeling anxious or stressed out
- Not being able to sleep
- Worrying about things
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope
- Coping with a loss or bereavement
- Distressing flashbacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD
Who is the service for?
Our service is available to veterans of the British Armed Forces and, like the Armed Forces covenant, we define a veteran as someone who has served for at least a day in HM Armed Forces, whether as a regular or reserve.
We also work with any immediate family members including partners of any ex-service personnel or the Territorial Army/Reserves who are affected by the feelings or behaviour of a veteran.
Who are we?
The service is provided by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and meets the community covenant commitment that veterans with concerns about their mental health, should be able to access services with health professionals who have an understanding of Armed Forces culture.
We work closely with local mental health services across the North West, many of whom have veteran champions familiar with Armed Forces culture.
Our team includes therapists, psychologists, and other staff who may be able to help with many different problems.
All our team have a special interest in working with veterans for a variety of reasons. We have worked closely with ex-service personnel whilst setting up the service to ensure that we are meeting the mental health needs of those who have been in service.
What can we do?
We will work with specific difficulties you may have such as anger, low mood, stress, worry, phobias, sleep, alcohol and relationship difficulties.
Many veterans say that they have problems with managing war memories. We can help you with these memories and help you to think about what they mean to you. If you have physical health problems as a result of your service, we may also be able to help you cope emotionally with these difficulties.
We will also support you to access local alcohol or drug services if you want to cut down your alcohol or drug use, or stop altogether.
If you are having housing, money or other social problems, we will support you to get some help with these practical issues.
There are a number of ways that we can help you to feel better by offering some of the following interventions:
- One-to-one sessions with a CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) therapist or psychologist
- Couple or family sessions with a therapist
- Group sessions or workshops
- Self-help support
- Signposting to agencies who can help with housing, debt and other practical problems
You and your therapist will decide what treatment is right for you following an initial assessment of your needs.
We are a non-urgent service for common mental health problems. For urgent or severe mental health problems please contact your GP, local mental health crisis team or visit the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.
To find out what other services that are available for the Armed Forces community please visit the Veterans Gateway.
Step into health
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust is also a part of the NHS Employers Step into Health Programme.
Step into Health offers an access route in to employment and other career development opportunities within the NHS to members of the Armed Forces community.
The programme recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that Armed Forces personnel have developed, and how these skills and values are compatible with working in the NHS.
The trust also has a dedicated contact person who can discuss how to apply for vacancies within the NHS.
For more information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org