Specialist nurses offer mental health support to veterans and reservists
A NEW mental health service for veterans and reserves has been launched in East Yorkshire.
Specialist nurses in the region are helping military veterans get help for a range of conditions, including depression, whether they are related to combat or not.
The Veterans Outreach Service found many ex-military workers struggled to talk about mental health problems or found it difficult to approach their own GP.
Now, Humber NHS Foundation Trust is providing specialist nurses to cover the region, chat to veterans and work with them to get the help they need.
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Veterans' mental health outreach therapist Rebecca Wilkinson, who covers the Hull and East Riding area, said: "Before, organisations such as the Royal British Legion would notice someone with a problem and would have to encourage them to make an appointment with a GP.
"This system means the person can be referred straight to me.
"I can go out to barracks or places they are familiar with and comfortable talking in.
"They feel more happy to engage with mental health services because they have that initial contact in the system."
The service is available to people aged 18 and over who have completed one day's service or more with the British military, is a reservist not currently deployed or is a family member of military personnel.
All therapists in the scheme have some form of military knowledge and background, whether they are married to a serviceman or have worked for the Ministry of Defence themselves.
Captain Adrian Blanchard is with 150 Yorkshire Transport Regiment (Volunteers). He has referred people to the service and works closely with Rebecca. He said: "If we are deploying individuals on operations, Rebecca will come in to the briefing and talk to individuals, families and myself so they know what to expect and where they can turn afterwards if they need help.
"I have referred people to Rebecca on a number of occasions, especially when an individual might not feel comfortable going to a health service, but would like to talk to her in the barracks.
"Doing it in their own environment, in somewhere they know, often makes people feel more comfortable."
Although in its infancy, it is thought the scheme is proving a success.
Captain Blanchard said: "I have definitely found it useful.
"I am not the subject matter expert, but as long as I know I can refer them to an expert and know they can get the best support possible, I am happy."
Anyone wishing to access the service can call 01482 617594.