Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has welcomed news that military charity Help for Heroes has grant funded more than £1 million to the NHS to ensure Veterans suffering from mental health problems will get quicker access to support.
Help for Heroes, which offers support to Veterans and Service Personnel who have suffered life changing injuries or illnesses, is grant funding £517,389 to Veterans’ NHS Wales, £431,109 to Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and a further £178,000 to The Change Step Project, a Veteran to Veteran peer mentoring scheme.
Darren, who is Chair of the Cross Party Group on Armed Forces at the National Assembly for Wales, said:
“For Veterans living in Wales, the funding means improved access to effective support and benefit from reduced waiting times for 120 former service personnel with service-related mental health problems. The money will help fund three additional NHS therapists who can treat 40 new cases each year.
“Veterans currently living in North Wales, Swansea and Newport are waiting up to 9 months after initial assessment to start weekly psychological therapy. The grant will help ensure they can access specialist support within 4 weeks for an assessment and can start therapy within 26 weeks; 3 months sooner than they had previously been able to.”
Karen Mead, Head of Psychological Wellbeing at Help for Heroes, said: “Help for Heroes is a charity leading the way in mental health support to members of the Armed Forces community. Many of our veterans need support with mental health problems and it is vitally important they get a fair deal and are offered support in a timely and effective manner.
“Help for Heroes believes that those who put their lives on the line for us deserve a second chance at life. This grant funding will enable us to empower our veterans across the UK to regain their purpose and will ensure we can better meet the needs of veterans suffering with their mental health.”
Change Step director Geraint Jones said:
“The partnership between the Change Step peer mentors and Veterans NHS Wales therapists provides a more seamless route for veterans seeking help for mental health problems and PTSD. It also ensures veterans are supported by peers who understand the benefits of engagement, especially whilst waiting for treatment or therapy.
“This collaboration also highlights the benefits of statutory and third sector organisations working to the same aim and utilising their resources to provide a more joined up approach to veterans requiring support.”