Newly launched NHS veterans' mental health transition, intervention and liaison service
Next steps on the NHS 5 Year Forward View; 17,500 forces veterans and service personnel to benefit from £9m investment in new and improved NHS mental health services.
NHS England launched (April 1) a brand new mental health service which has been specially tailored to support and treat ex-armed forces veterans and service personnel who are approaching discharge.
The NHS transition, intervention and liaison (TIL) veterans’ mental health service, will act as a front door to a range of mental health services across the health and care system for 17,500 people over the next 3 years.
Different levels of specialist treatment, support and healthcare experts will be available and on hand - ensuring those who proudly serve and put their lives on the line for their country, get the care they deserve, as quickly as possible - all of the time.
Service personnel approaching discharge and veterans will be able to either self-refer or request referral via their GP or mental health provider or through a military charity like Combat Stress, the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and SSAFA. An initial face to face assessment will be offered within a fortnight and where appropriate, a clinical appointment 2 weeks later.
The service has been designed to help recognise some of the early signs associated with mental health difficulties and will provide access to a number of interventions, therapeutic treatments for complex problems and psychological trauma and prevent patients reaching crisis point.
It will also help tackle some of the most common mental health issues such as alcoholism, anxiety and depression, working with local authorities and charities, so that the whole of a person’s needs and their families, are looked after. This might also include help and support on practical issues such as housing after discharge, as well as quick access to social care where necessary and an out of hours contact in the event of an emergency.
The three main elements of the service are:
Transition (service for those leaving the armed forces): Feedback highlighted more should be done to support a smoother transaction from the armed forces to the NHS. The new service will work with the MOD to offer mental health support for armed forces personnel before their discharge date.
Intervention (service for veterans with complex mental health issues): Service personnel approaching discharge and veterans will have an assessment within 14 days of referral. Depending on their individual needs, they will be offered a clinical appointment. They will be treated by a clinician with an expert understanding of armed forces life and culture. They may also be supported by a care coordinator who will work with other services and organisations and act as a single point of contact, to ensure a coordinated approach to their care.
Liaison (general service for veterans): Patients, who do not have any complex presentations, but might benefit from mainstream services, will be referred into local NHS mental health services where they will receive treatment and support.
See more about mental health services for veterans on the Forces Network site.