Head Start Impact

Mental health and emotional wellbeing support that veterans can trust

Head Start provides mental health support that’s proven to work.

At Walking With The Wounded, we’re dedicated to making sure we offer the best support for every veteran we work with. We continually improve our services by understanding how effective they are, and where we can make changes.  

Since Head Start began, we’ve used clinical measures to provide important information on the performance of our service.  

In 2018 we were evaluated by King’s College London. They found that:

  • Veterans who went through Head Start had clinical improvement in both anxiety and depression by the end of therapy
  • Head Start led to a sustained improvement in work and social functionality. This is particularly valuable in terms of finding and staying in work

You can read the full King’s College report below. 

In 2020 we asked the Centre for Mental Health to look at our data. We wanted to check we were still on track. They found that veterans who had been through Head Start sessions experienced improvement in both anxiety and depression scores by the end of therapy.  

You can read the full Centre for Mental Health report below. 

Emotional wellbeing and mental health are vital to enjoying life 

As well as clinical scores, we need to know if people have improved wellbeing after Head Start. This is important, for example, where someone is living with a long term condition, such as depression. We asked Pro Bono Economics to evaluate our Head Start programme, and they found Head Start can still lead to improved social function and wellbeing generally, even where clinical scores have not improved: 

  • On average, veterans who use Walking With The Wounded services start with wellbeing scores in line with the lowest 6% of people in England.
  • The average Life Satisfaction score of our clients improved by 2.7 points on a scale of 0-10.
  • Wellbeing scores for a similar group of people from national data increased by 1.2 to 1.9 points over the same period. This suggests that around 30-60% of the increase in wellbeing for Head Start participants is attributable to the service.
  • This means that our Head Start programme delivers a potential economic benefit worth between £2,114,100 and £6,852,600. This is a return on investment of between 1:6 and 1:18.
  • If just 3-6% of the benefits from the Head Start mental health programme were attributable to Walking With the Wounded then the benefits would outweigh the costs. 

You can read the full Pro Bono Economics report below. 

Accreditation from the Quality Network for Veterans Mental Health Services 

The Quality Network for Veterans Mental Health Services (QNVMHS) assures and improves the quality of veterans’ mental health services throughout the UK. They aim to: 

  • Promote service quality improvement 
  • Share best practice in mental health services 
  • Encourage a culture of openness between mental health teams  
  • Help mental health services plan improvements for the future 
  • Demonstrate the quality of the care provided by mental health services

The QNVMHS brings veteran mental health teams together and introduces quality standards as a way to recognise and improve quality. 

As a member of the network, our Head Start programme was reviewed against the Standards for Veterans Mental Health Services. We are delighted that Head Start has been awarded with accreditation by the network and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  

These standards have been developed from key documents and by using expert consensus. They have been subject to extensive consultation with professional groups involved in the provision of veterans’ mental health services, and with veterans who have used these services. 

Walking With The Wounded is part of the Contact partnership   

We are proud to be a partner of Contact - a collaboration of leading military charities, the NHS and the MoD. We work together to provide the best possible mental health support for those who have served in the British Armed Forces. For more information, visit the Contact website


King's College evaluation report

PDF. 1.4mb

An Evaluation of Walking With The Wounded programmes

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Pro Bono Economics evaluation report

PDF. 586.2kb

A report on the wellbeing impacts of Walking With The Wounded programmes by Pro Bono Economics

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Find out more about our services for veterans, including Head Start support for families of ex-Forces personnel.