New treatment service to support ex-military personnel

St Andrew's Healthcare recently opened a new Veteran's Complex Treatment Service (CTS) for ex-military personnel who require intensive care and treatment for mental health issues.

The CTS offers a range of intensive care and treatment for people who have served in the military, many of whom will have experienced trauma. Working alongside existing services to provide intensive therapy for conditions such as substance and alcohol misuse, the CTS also supports individuals who are experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Veterans who have endured stressful, frightening or distressing events - such as military combat and violent situations - are susceptible to PTSD, and may experience the event repeatedly through flashbacks and nightmares.

The CTS at St Andrew's has been designed for veterans from the Midlands and East of England who have been assessed and referred by the Veteran’s Mental Health Transition and Intervention Liaison Service.

The Service uses a three-stepped approach to support individuals:

  • Stabilisation: This commences upon referral and focuses on an individual’s needs along with coping and support structures, both internally and within their psychosocial environment
  • Trauma Processing: Using Eye Movement De-sensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Trauma Focussed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (tfCBT), understanding and learning to cope with arousal and avoidance systems
  • Reintegration: Re-establishing social and cultural connections and addressing individual’s quality of life.

“I am very happy with the progress to date,” commented one service user. “I have found that you have all taken the time to listen to me and understand what I require to get well and recover. I do wish to move forward in my life so I would prefer to undertake therapy that focuses on moving forward as opposed to looking back.”

Dr Melanie Coxall, Principal Clinical Psychologist & Clinical Lead, explained: "Our clinicians have expert understanding of the barriers to accessing care by this client group, and together we offer support to help people overcome their previous issues which are impacting recovery.  Since we started the service in April, we have supported people experiencing a range of difficulties including trauma, depressive and anxiety symptoms and difficulty with alcohol and various other substances, some of whom are having trouble adjusting to civilian life."

A provider of choice

Our Veteran's Complex Treatment Service covers East Midlands and the East of England. The other Complex Treatment Service providers within the UK are:

• Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (North of England)
• Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (West Midlands)
• Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (London and the South East)
• Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and the South West)

For more information on St Andrew's CTS, call:  01604 616 305.