Type Charity for veterans with mental illness
Location Nationwide
Grant amount £60,000 in 2015, £30,000 in 2016
Date March 2015
Website www.combatstress.org.uk

How the Charity helps veterans

Combat Stress is the UK's leading Veterans' mental health charity. Mental ill-health affects ex-Service men and women of all ages. Right now, they're supporting almost 6,000 Veterans aged from 18 to 97. They're a vital lifeline for these men, women, and their families.

The charity treats conditions including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. They help veterans rebuild their lives by providing:

  • Short-stay clinical treatment.- at one of their treatment centres in Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey
  • A specialist PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme – run at their three treatment centres
  • Outpatients – assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists enables them to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment Veterans require
  • Occupational Therapy – meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, well-being and recovery
  • Community and Outreach – a UK wide network of Community and Outreach Teams providing treatment and practical support to Veterans and their families in their own home
  • Reserve Forces Liaison Team – working directly with Reservists and military staff to raise awareness of mental health issues in the Reserve Forces
  • A 24-hour helpline – for Veterans, serving personnel and families

In 2015, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Veterans made up a total of 8 per cent of the number of Veterans that Combat Stress supported through its mental health treatment and welfare services (345 Royal Navy and 158 Royal Marines). Its youngest client was only 22 years old and its oldest, 94 years old. More than a third of its clients were of working age (under 60 years old) at the time of their referral.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity grant

In March 2015, Combat Stress received a grant of £60,000 from The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. The money was used to fund core services provided by the charity (listed above) to Royal Navy and Royal Marines Veterans who are living with the harmful effects of psychological wounds.

The grant has been particularly helpful to Combat Stress due to their huge increase in the number of referrals they have received from veterans who have served in Afghanistan. Grants, like that from the RNRMC, help Combat Stress continue their vital services including their helpline which increased by 37% during 2014/2015 and their community and Outreach Services.

In March 2016, Combat Stress received another grant of £30,000 from The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Greenwich Hospital.

David* Combat Stress beneficiary

*Name has been changed to avoid identification.

A 35-year-old former Royal Marine, living in Northern Ireland, contacted Combat Stress in 2014 after developing stress-related symptoms due to issues with his career management.

David* was very stressed, had low mood, struggled to sleep properly, had difficulty concentrating and was irritable. He lived at home with his parents and had little income to support himself. All of this left him with low self-esteem. His mental health was also affected by his determination to pursue a complaint against his previous chain of command.

David was assessed by Combat Stress and was diagnosed with stress and adjustment difficulties. They offered him counselling and low-level support, including stress management. He received regular monthly sessions throughout 2014 and 2015, which enabled him to begin recovering from his mental health conditions that resulted from serving in the Royal Marines.

Combat Stress’ community psychiatric nurse encouraged David to explore the issues affecting him and identify healthier ways to view his circumstances. David also received support from the regional welfare officer (RWO) who identified and assisted with his application for courses and activities that David could get involved in. The RWO liaised with David’s parents to offer family and carer support. 

With the support of Combat Stress, David made a significant recovery and learned to manage his stress more appropriately. He had felt isolated with nobody to talk to. However, being able to meet up with the Community Team on a regular basis while he was going through a stressful period in his life helped to alleviate the pressure David was under. He was able to find positive ways to move forward and focus on making a new life for himself.