Veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress to host business symposium

The power and potential of veterans in the workplace is the focus of this year’s free-to-attend Military Mind business symposium.

Sponsored by Thales and presented by Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health, the symposium will explore practical ways companies can ensure the workplace wellbeing of their veteran and reservist employees.

Held on 15 May in London and 17 May in Edinburgh, the event coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week and will centre on what support companies can implement, regardless of their size or sector.

Experts in the field of military mental health, as well as those in the corporate sector who employ veterans, will join clinical specialists from Combat Stress to present methods that businesses have used to create a supportive environment for veterans and reservists at work.

Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said:

“Former servicemen and women bring enormous value to the workplace. This symposium will help responsible businesses build and enhance their workplace wellbeing programmes for their veteran and reservist workforce.

“Through this symposium we will explore practical ways companies can create effective, well-being support initiatives in the workplace. Our aim is to ensure employers are fully equipped to support their former service employees.”

Mike Seabrook, UK Company Secretary of Thales, said:

“Studies have found that 33 productive days are lost per year to moderate to severe depression by the 5.6% of employees that suffer from it – regardless of whether they are ex-forces. This drops to only 2 days if they no longer suffer from depression – a huge difference.[1]

“Thales know that veterans can mean good business – ex forces are trained and skilled to the highest level, and companies like Thales are lucky enough to benefit from this huge pool of talent. It makes good business sense to build comprehensive and effective wellbeing programmes to support and retain this group of outstanding professionals. We look forward to sharing where we are on our veterans programme journey and our experience at the symposium.”

The 2018 Military Mind London business symposium will take place on 15 May from 9am to 2.30pm at Honourable Artillery Company, City Road, London EC1Y 2BQ.

The 2018 Military Mind Edinburgh business symposium will take place on 17 May from 9am to 2.30pm at The Merchants’ Hall, 22 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EP.

The event is free. Speakers include:

  • Mike Seabrook: UK Company Secretary at Thales
  • David Duffy: Director Career Transition Partnership (CTP) (London event only)
  • Dr Jeya Balakrishna: Consultant Psychiatrist on the National Veterans & Reserves Mental Health Programme at the MOD
  • Mark Arscott: Head of Military Engagement at BT
  • Michael Coates: CEO of Combat Pest Control
  • Deirdre Mills: Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory (London event only)
  • Dr Walter Busutti: Director Medical Services at Combat Stress
  • Jolandi Du Preez: Lead Occupational Therapist at Combat Stress

For more information or to register to attend, please contact Garry Burns, Corporate Partnership and Sponsorship Manager, on, 01372 587 158 or visit our website.


For more information please contact Holly Ayres, PR and Communications Officer, on 01372 587061 or at

Notes to editors:

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

For almost a century, we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Over the past five years (2012 to 2017) we have seen an average of more than 2,000 referrals each year. Demand for our services continues to grow – we have seen a 143% increase in referrals from ten years ago.

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 Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts are coming to Combat Stress much sooner (three and four years respectively).

To help veterans rebuild their lives, we provide a range of free services:

  • Short-stay clinical treatment at our treatment centres
  • A specialist Intensive Treatment Programme – delivered at our treatment centres
  • Community Teams – providing treatment and practical support to veterans. Last year our regional community teams undertook almost 5,400 face-to-face appointments
  • Outpatients – assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists – at our treatment centres and in the community – enables us to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment veterans require
  • Occupational therapy – delivered at our treatment centres and in the community, we use meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, wellbeing and recovery
  • Peer Support Service – Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The service enables them to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others with similar experiences.
  • 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
  • Our 24-hour Helpline is there for veterans, serving personnel and their families (0800 138 1619)

Useful links

[1] Vitality Health/Rand Europe; Britain’s Healthiest Workplace

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