The service is hosted by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust but provides help to military veterans across the whole of the South West of England. Our staff have a wealth of experience in mental health and are appropriately trained to provide an efficient and effective service to veterans in the South West. The clinicians in our team all have experience of working in military settings as serving or civilian personnel and so have a particular understanding of the issues veterans face.
The definition of veterans as used by services such as this is someone that has served in the armed forces for at least a day, therefore the service is accessible by anyone who has served in the forces.
We will take referrals from veterans themselves, their families or carers, from any health or social care professional or recognised charity. Professional workers may wish to refer to our dedicated Support page.
Following referral to the team you will in most cases be offered to be seen by one of the clinical staff members for an assessment. The team member will then help you to access the most appropriate service for you – that may be linking in to an NHS service more local to you, to a charity such as Combat Stress or one that may be able to help with more practical problems or if you need psychological therapy that is not clearly available in your area then you may be offered treatment by one of the team members. Although the team is not big enough to offer treatment to all veterans in the South West, we will make sure that you get the best help that is available. In cases where we refer on to other services we will remain available for the staff member providing the care to receive specialist support and guidance from our service.
For veterans accessing the service in Bristol or South Gloucestershire who are suffering with memories of traumatic experiences in the forces we advise that you access your local IAPT service. Accessing services this way you are more likely to have the option of being treated by the South West Veterans Service.