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New mental health service for veterans in crisis launches in north England

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A new NHS service for veterans who are experiencing severe mental health problems has launched this month in north England in partnership with Combat Stress.

The Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS) provides care and treatment for veterans who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need urgent help. It will do this by working with local mental health services that are already treating a veteran, to improve their experiences and ultimately their health and lives.

The HIS is part of a new national service being rolled out across England. In north England, the service is being delivered in partnership between Combat Stress, the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Walking With The Wounded and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Together, we will work with local mental health services to provide:

• Support to crisis care services for veterans in a mental health crisis
• Support during an inpatient unit stay – including access to a clinician advice line 24 hours a day
• Care navigation – helping veterans and their carers find the local services best suited to their needs, and
• Support and care for family members and carers where they need it.

The HIS consists of clinical staff with the skills to support veterans and the local mental health services treating them when they are in crisis or admitted to an inpatient ward. This includes a team of psychologists, mental health professionals and Veteran Liaison and Support Officers – some of whom are veterans themselves.

Dr Felix Davies, Director of Operations at Combat Stress, said: “We are pleased to be a partner in the NHS England High Intensity Service (HIS) for veterans in the north of England. We look forward to providing clinical support and evaluation alongside the collaborative led by Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust.

“Combat Stress will be building on the positive relationships we already have in place with the Trust and other providers in the north of England, as we deliver elements of both the High Intensity Service and Complex Treatment Service for veterans in this region.”

This new service is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to expand support for all veterans and their families, helping them from their transition out of the armed forces and beyond. This includes the already-established Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Liaison and Intervention Service (TILS) and the Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS).