UK team sets off to compete at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017

The team will join 16 other nations at the international event for wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

A 90-strong team of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) military personnel have departed from London Heathrow for Toronto, Canada to represent the UK in the third Invictus Games.

The eight-day sporting event will see 550 individuals from 17 nations compete across 12 sports including athletics, wheelchair basketball, swimming and a new sport for 2017, golf. The event will begin with an opening ceremony on 23 September at the Air Canada Centre, featuring Canadian singers Sarah McLachlan and Alessia Cara, and will finish with a closing ceremony on 30 September with performances from Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams.

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Ex-Service personnel, employment and mental health

Mental health awareness has improved vastly in recent years. However, there is a great need for research in the field of veterans’ mental health.

Forces in Mind Trust’s Mental Health Research Programme is seeking high quality research in this area.

A highlight notice was issued six weeks ago, to encourage applications that propose innovative ways to identify, evaluate and/or propose new methods of improving employment/under-employment in former Service personnel with mental ill-health.

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Combat Stress announces new five-year strategy to improve veterans’ access to mental health treatment and support

Combat Stress has announced a new five-year strategic plan to improve veterans’ recovery experience and enable the charity to raise the money needed to fund its life-changing work.

The plans are in response to the continued growth in demand for the charity’s support, with a 143% increase in referrals over the last decade. In the last year alone Combat Stress received more than 10,000 calls to their Helpline, and more than 2,400 new veterans were referred for treatment.

Following an 18-month period of discussion with veterans, employees, military charities and healthcare professionals, the new strategy has been designed to offer greater flexibility and accessibility to treatment so veterans can be supported more quickly.

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Brief on the forthcoming NHS veterans’ mental health complex treatment service

NHS England is in the process of procuring a veterans’ mental health complex treatment service (VMH CTS) that will launch on 1 April 2018.

The purpose of the VMH CTS, which builds on the recent launch of the NHS veterans’ mental health transition, liaison and intervention service (VMH TIL service), is to provide an enhanced service for veterans who have military attributable complex mental health problems, many of whom will have experienced trauma, which have not been resolved earlier in the care/support pathway.

The service will focus on veterans who will benefit from the intensive provision of a range of mental health and social interventions. This may include (but is not limited to) substance misuse, occupational therapy, physical health, employment, accommodation, relationships, finances and trauma focused therapy.

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The Mental Health of the UK Armed Forces – updated briefing note

This briefing note (updated July 2017) provides an outline of the current evidence on UK military mental health, including prevalence rates of mental health problems in serving regulars, serving reserves and those who have left service. Findings relating to suicide, help-seeking, risk-taking, violence, offending and
deployment mental health support are also addressed.

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Over 2 in 5 of those who have served in the Armed Forces in the UK have trouble sleeping

A survey from Help for Heroes* has revealed that many ex-servicemen and women in the UK have issues sleeping, with over 2 in 5 (41%) stating that they sleep badly on an average night (compared to 27% of the general public, according to a study from the Sleep Council**). Indeed, a quarter of veterans get less than five hours’ sleep on an average night – much less than the widely recommended eight hours.

The results also show that in particular those aged between 25 and 54 struggle to regularly get a good night’s sleep (58%), and that female veterans suffer most, with almost 4 in 5 (70%) of those surveyed saying that they feel they don’t get enough sleep.

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New academic role for Veterans Aid CEO

CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy has been appointed Visiting Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN).

He said, “I am proud and delighted to have what has been a long ‘informal’ relationship with King’s formalised in this way. Students are our future and I hope that by working with them we can open minds and challenge some of the orthodox thinking about veterans that leads to so much harmful stereotyping.”

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Walking With The Wounded beneficiary, Kyle, set to run from Warrington to Ipswich in aid of wounded veterans.

Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) is exceptionally proud of beneficiary, Kyle, who is planning to run from Warrington to Ipswich in just 5 days. Kyle will be starting his 210 mile journey from Warrington on Monday 4th September, aiming to run 42 miles per day.

Kyle served with 9 Parachute Squadron RE (Royal Engineers) and served 2 tours of Afghanistan.

Kyle has explained on his Just Giving page: “I am trying to raise as much money as possible… for PTSD victims.” He is hoping to raise £1000 for the military charity Walking With The Wounded, which supports physically, mentally and socially wounded ex-servicemen and women back into independence by assisting them into sustainable employment and helping them to reintegrate back into society.

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Wholesale jewellery brand raises almost £40,000 for veterans’ mental health charity

Wholesale jewellery brand, Frank Ross Ltd. has raised almost £40,000 for Combat Stress, the UK’s leading veterans’ mental health charity.

After hearing of the work Combat Stress does to help veterans with mental health conditions, Frank Ross Ltd. decided to support the charity through the sale of their poppy jewellery collection. Since they started supporting the charity in late 2015 Frank Ross Ltd. has raised almost £40,000 for Combat Stress.

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Utterly stunning @RoyalAirForce…

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