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Working together with the NHS to provide support to Veterans & their families under Op COURAGE – Written by Amy Franklin, WWTW Director of Operations

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, is an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.


Op COURAGE is a new overarching name for the following veterans’ mental health services: 

·        the Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) 

·        the Veterans' Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) 

·        the Veterans' Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS)

The new name was created to make it easier for veterans and those leaving the military to find help. Walking With The Wounded (‘WWTW’) has partnered with TILS, CTS and HIS for many years.

WWTW has been supporting veterans for over a decade, and in the past few years our team has achieved some extraordinary outcomes through our partnership with the NHS. For example:

-        In our mental health programme, Head Start, we have supported 1528 referrals from the NHS since 2016. Head Start provides 1-2-1 private therapy for ex-service personnel with mild to moderately severe mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and adjustment disorder. Our mental health programme ensures that therapy is provided rapidly (within 10 days of returned consent) and within the veterans’ community with an accredited therapist. It has been independently reviewed twice; showing the effectiveness of the intervention to achieve significant improvement in self-reported measures of anxiety and depression from baseline scores to final therapy session.

-        Within the regional HIS services, WWTW has supported 251 referrals through a network of Veteran Liaison & Support Officers (VLSOs). Referrals in this area are complex with most clients feeling isolated and “stuck” with regards to accessing mental health support.

-        We have worked with the NHS to embed Employment Advisors to deliver IPS (Individual placement and support) employment services. To date we have supported 718 veterans referred by the NHS into 534 paid employment outcomes.

The lasting impact of our support across these areas include:

•  Clients have improved mental health

•  Clients secure appropriate, sustained employment outcomes

•  Clients have tools to better manage their mental health- they know their triggers, have healthier coping strategies, and know where to seek support

•  Clients know how to make their challenges more manageable 

•  Clients have increased self-confidence to speak about their problems, advocate for themselves and make positive choices for themselves 

•  Clients have trust restored in NHS services to deliver support

•  Clients have a reduction in stress or anxiety associated with their challenges (be it debt, housing, relationships or other).

Commenting on the impact of the London Op COURAGE services, Rob Henderson Operational Service Manager said, “London Op COURAGE Services have worked in close collaboration with WWTW since September 2020. Dedicated specialists have provided employment advice and IPS placements and have also been embedded in our High Intensity Service, providing rapid access to meet the social needs of the veterans we serve.

We have had access to committed, knowledgeable and hard-working staff who are veteran aware, and have contributed greatly to providing a successful and comprehensive response to the difficulties that ex-service men and women and their affected others can face.” 

WWTW is looking forward to finding out more about the shape of NHS mental health services for veterans under the NHS Op COURAGE recommissioning.

Find out more about how WWTW has supported the NHS through Op COURAGE, follow this link: https://bit.ly/WWTWOPCOURAGE