Sefton veterans inspire local NHS staff

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A doctor’s surgery in Bootle has donated funds to the Sefton Veterans Project following a memorable talk from the leader of the project and ex-military himself, David Smith.

It follows a training session, organised by NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) late last year to raise awareness of the Sefton wide project and the work it does to support military veterans.

Practice staff heard how David faced issues in adjusting to life outside the forces after 25 years of service and how he now works for the charity, Expect Ltd. Following discussions, the charity decided to start up the Sefton Veterans Project with the primary focus being the mental health issues ex service personnel frequently suffer on discharge from the armed forces.

The staff at Moore Street Surgery were so touched by the talk that they decided to donate £100 collected from a dress down day to the project.

Practice Manager at Moore Street Surgery, Helen Shillcock said: “Dave and the other veterans talk was so inspiring, it really made us think about how referrals to the project can seriously help veterans by giving them the support that they need.

“When you hear about how Dave and some of the other veterans have turned their lives around and are now helping others like them it is so motivating. We held a dress down day a while back and raised £100, we knew all along that the Sefton Veterans Project was where we wanted to donate the money to and they truly deserve it for all their hard work.”

The Sefton Veterans Project is managed by Expect Ltd, a charity providing services for people living with a learning disability or enduring mental health problems, and is an initiative between Sefton Council, Sefton CVS and the two CCGs in Sefton who have helped to develop the veterans strategy for Sefton.

Together, they have established a one stop facility in Expects Bowersdale Resource Centre, Seaforth for ex-service personnel and their families to provide help and advice with mental wellbeing housing, employment, dependency and financial issues. They also provide mentor support when referring to specialist mental health experts who fully understand a veteran’s needs and issues such as combat stress.

Dave Smith from the Sefton Veterans Project said: “We were overwhelmed when the surgery told us they’d like us to have the money. It is great to know that the talks that we do are so effective when really it’s just informing the public of what services we offer as a project and what experience we have been through to warrant such a service.

“The money will be put towards a retreat that we are taking some of our veterans on in Scotland in May and we are extremely grateful to the practice for choosing us. It is so important that people know about our service and that military veterans are referred to us so that we can help. It is so nice to give something back to those who have been through similar experiences.

”A huge thank you goes to Angela Curran, Locality Development Support at the CCG for organising the talk which has led to more referrals to the Sefton Veteran Project.”

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The NHS currently provides 12 mental health services across England specifically for veterans. They enable specialist staff to care for ex-forces personnel with mental health needs, direct them to the most appropriate service and give them effective treatment.

To help improve future care across the country NHS England are asking armed forces veterans to share their experience of mental health services.

The launch of their national survey will help improve the care available for veterans as they move from military to civilian life.

The survey is a chance for veterans to share their experiences and views of existing mental health services and to understand the reasons why some people have not sought or received support and treatment. You can complete the questionnaire here.

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