NHS Transition Support
NHS England has now launched a brand new mental health service which has been specially tailored to support and treat Armed Forces veterans and Service personnel who are approaching discharge.
The newly commissioned £9m service, known officially as 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 three 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.
NHS England asked Serving personnel and their families for views on what they would like to see within the new service and what it could do to build on the current provisions already available. The aim is to not only improve mental health and well-being but also ensure a smooth transition from Armed Forces healthcare to the NHS and civilian life.
The three main elements of the service are as follows:
Transition (service for those leaving the Armed Forces): Feedback from veterans and their families highlighted more should be done to support a smoother transition 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.
The NFF is delighted to see this development in support and pleased to see that this new service aims to recognise some of the early signs associated with mental health difficulties that some of those leaving the Armed Forces face.
Along with the Army Families Federation and the Royal Air Force Families Federation, the NFF now has a transition liaison officer, Lucy Heaver, who is leading a special project on transition, which has been funded by the Forces in Mind Trust.
This focused project will provide an overview of the current support available to families, and highlight where there is need for improvement and change. Please click on the video to find out more: