Mental Health Assessments for Ex-Service Personnel
The Veterans’ and Reserves
Mental Health Programme (VRMHP) formerly known as the Medical
Assessment Programme (MAP)
The Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme (VRMHP) is
located at the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) at
Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, Nottinghamshire where it has been
integrated with mainstream Defence Mental Health Services (DMHS).
It is staffed by both military and civilian clinicians with
extensive military experience and knowledge and offers a free
national service to ex-service personnel who fulfil the following
criteria for eligibility and feel they would benefit from seeing a
consultant with a military background:
- A Mental Health Examination for any ex-service personnel with
operational service since 1982 (including veterans of the Falklands
Conflict). Over 4000 assessments have been conducted since the
service opened. The assessment will be made available to referrers
with treatment suggestions and signposting to relevant agencies.
Treatment for any diagnosed condition is the responsibility of
local NHS mental health services (except for Reservists – see
- Reservists (i.e. Serving or ex members of the Territorial Army,
Royal Air Force or Royal Naval Reserve) who have served on
operations since January 2003 (i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan). In the
event of a diagnosable disorder deemed attributable to operational
service an individual may be referred to their local DCMH for
treatment by Defence Mental Health clinicians.
- The VRMHP also offers free advice and information to
individuals, families, health professionals and interested parties
about the mental health of veterans.
The purpose of the VRMHP is:
- To assess, and attempt to understand, the psychological
difficulties experienced by ex-Service personnel presenting to the
- To provide advice to individuals, families, and health
professionals about the mental health of veterans in their
- Where possible, to provide diagnoses and management strategies
for individuals and the medical and mental health professionals
involved in their care.
- To collate anonymised statistical information as a resource for
study of this population by authorized researchers who have
obtained the appropriate ethical clearance. No information about
named individuals is given to third parties without written consent
from the individuals concerned.
Free advice and
Freephone 0800 0326258
Phone: 0115 9574606
Websites: Ministry of Defence
and Veterans UK (follow
links to MAP)
Referral to the
GPs and Mental Health Professionals are
encouraged to refer patients who meet the eligibility criteria and
who are concerned that their mental health may have suffered as a
result of military Service. All GPs and patients receive a copy of
the assessment report.
cases to the following address:
Fax: 0115 9574450
There is now a new website bringing together
services for ex-military personnel which may be accessed at
Service Pensions & Veterans Agency (SPVA)
Contact details for the Armed Forces Networks
can be found at: http://www.armedforceshealthpartnership.org.uk/
National Veterans Mental Health Network
In 2010, the Coalition Government commissioned
Dr Andrew Murrison MP to produce a report on how the mental health
needs of Armed Forces personnel and veterans could be improved.
The report, Fighting Fit: A mental health
plan for servicemen and veterans was published in August 2010
and made recommendations based on the following general
- Established models of care should be used in designing the
- Any provider that can deliver against National Institute for
Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines and Care Quality
Commission (CQC) standards should be considered in accordance with
the precepts of The Big Society.
- Follow-up and management should be as close to home as
- Stigma deters Servicemen from engaging with conventional mental
The report contained 13 action points, of
which four were classed as principal recommendations:
- Incorporation of a structured mental health
systems enquiry into existing medical examinations performed whilst
- An uplift in the number of mental health
professionals (30 in total) conducting veterans’ outreach work from
mental health trusts in partnership with a leading mental health
- A Veterans Information Service (VIS)
providing mental health information 12 months after a person leaves
the Armed Forces; and,
- The trial, online, of an early intervention
service for serving personnel and veterans
(the “Big White Wall”).
In 2013, a National Veterans’ Mental Health
Network was established to deliver the Murrison report’s
recommendations and to ensure that organisations work together for
the benefit of the veteran, their carers and family. The Network’s
aim is to enable mental health professionals across the MOD, NHS
and research communities work together to enhance clinical
capacity, support the psychological wellbeing plus the successful
and sustainable transition of Veterans their carers and families
into civilian life.
Managed from a central “hub” in the South
Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust, each Strategic
Health Authority (SHA) has been allocated resources to support the
uplift of the number of mental health professionals. Many local
initiatives have already evolved to cater for veterans and have
developed individual models that are tailored to their local
A number of Veterans Mental Health Therapists
(mostly mental health nurses, many with military experience) are
already in post using a variety of service models including direct
service provision, educating fellow mental health professionals,
joint working, sign-posting, working in partnership with other
agencies such as Combat Stress, or a mixture of these.
The aim of the Network is to bring those areas
of good practice together to share, propagate and provide assurance
to support the delivery of Veterans’ mental healthcare and inform
policy based around a number of guiding principles:
- Partnership working -
recognising the importance of the pathways from military to
civilian life, including other areas of the Veterans’ life and not
just health or statutory agencies.
- Improving the quality of
care, service interface and ability to navigate
- Consider the future of
service provision for Veteran mental healthcare based on
proportionate and sustainable solutions which are evidence based,
in terms of size and scope of the provision, take account of the
potential for delayed presentation and the risk of late onset
mental health problems where there is serious physical injury or
chronic illness. Services must also align to the new commissioning
environment and reform agenda.
- Insight and foresight will
be gained from listening to and working with experts in their field
with both academic and lived experience.
Specific objectives of the network include:
a. Improving the transition
of service leavers to NHS care (joint responsibility with MOD).
b. Implementation of mental
health services for veterans, their carers and families.
c. Better NHS support to
Armed Forces Reservists.
d. Ability of our
organisations to influence and develop new and innovative ways of
delivering services locally, regionally and nationally. These
developments will be seen across the full range of services from
improving mental health to general wellbeing to the delivery of
specialist / tertiary Services.
e. Ensure the spread of best
practice linked to research and evidence based intervention.
Produce clinical teams with the right skills to culturally engage
with veterans, their carers and families.
Being a veteran opens the door to a range of help and
support from the MOD, other government departments and Service
charities and support groups. Veterans can access all of these
services by calling:
Veterans-UK free helpline: 0800 169 2277,
Combat Stress and Rethink on 0800 138 1619.