Veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress appoints new directors

Combat Stress, the UK’s leading mental health charity for ex-servicemen and women, has appointed two new directors as the charity reshapes its executive team.

Director of Client Services – Carol Smith
Carol joins Combat Stress this month as the new Director of Client Services. She served as a commissioned officer in the Personnel Support branch of the Royal Air Force (RAF). She completed two tours of duty in Germany and was also stationed on Ascension Island.

During her military career Carol was employed in a wide range of roles from infrastructure management to finance management and recruiting. Before leaving the RAF, Carol worked in the Ministry of Defence as the lead for operational and non-operational welfare and housing policy for the Armed Forces. On leaving the military she was appointed Assistant Director Operations Health and Social Care at The Royal British Legion.

In her new position at Combat Stress Carol will oversee the delivery of services for veterans.

Director of Resources – Richard Whitley
Richard also joins Combat Stress this month, taking up the post of Director of Resources. He has worked in the charity sector for the last eight years as Director of Resources for Prostate Cancer UK and Independent Age.

Richard is a qualified accountant with nearly 25 years’ experience, and has a master’s degree in management from Warwick Business School.

As Director of Resources, Richard leads the Finance, Governance, IT and HR functions of the charity.

Combat Stress’ Chief Executive Sue Freeth said:
“I am delighted to welcome Carol Smith and Richard Whitley to Combat Stress. They bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge that will ensure a positive future for the charity and enable us to continue supporting veterans in the most effective way.

“They will also help to shape our new five year strategy, which is due to be published later this year.”

The appointment of Carol Smith and Richard Whitley follows a restructure of the Combat Stress Executive Team in 2016.


For more information please contact Nicola Hudson, PR and Communications Officer, on 01372 587165 / 07711 590259 or at

Notes to editors:
Combat Stress is the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans. Founded in 1919, our work is as vital today as it was after the First World War.

More than 6,000 veterans across the UK are registered with us. Demand for our services is rising, over the past five years we have had almost 10,000 referrals – an increase of 71%.

On average it takes 12 years after leaving the military for veterans to contact Combat Stress for help, by which time their condition is often highly complex. However veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are coming to Combat Stress much sooner, within four and two years respectively.

We treat conditions including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. To help veterans rebuild their lives, we provide a range of free services:

  • Short-stay clinical treatment at one of our treatment centres in Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey
  • A specialist PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme – run at our three treatment centres
  • Outpatients – assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists enables us to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment veterans require
  • Occupational therapy – using meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, wellbeing and recovery
  • Community Teams – a UK-wide network of Community Teams providing treatment and practical support to veterans
  • Reserve Forces Liaison Team – working directly with reservists and military staff, raising awareness of mental health issues in the Reserve Forces
  • Substance Misuse Case Management Service – helping veterans to access the services for their drug and alcohol problems so their mental health issues can be addressed
  • A 24-hour Helpline for veterans, serving personnel and families (0800 138 1619)

Useful links

Our website:
On Twitter: @CombatStress
On Facebook:
On LinkedIn:

Combat Stress, Registered Charity 206002; Registered Charity in Scotland SCO38828; Company Ltd by guarantee: 256353.


Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here