The Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS) for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is a service for any veteran who may require a rapid response to a mental health crisis.
It can be reached by calling NHS111, where the caller will need to identify as a veteran or carer of a veteran. All calls will be triaged and, where appropriate, mental health assistance will be provided within a maximum of 8 hours via military charities All Call Signs, based in Southsea, and Walking with the Wounded and Solent NHS.
The trust has also partnered with charity Ripple Pond partner at provides confidential peer-to-peer support to veterans families.
Cindy Twitchell, who is a veteran herself, reached out to Ripple Pond a few years ago to get support with her husband, who is a veteran with PTSD.
How Hampshire veterans and their families can get urgent mental health support v…
She said: ‘I stumbled upon The Ripple Pond at a time when I desperately needed help and support. His illness had got so bad that I was at the end of my tether, trying to juggle being a good mum and keeping myself healthy so that I could be the supportive wife too.
‘I had many doors closed on me when I asked for help with my mental health. I may have been accepted for some counselling if the High Intensity Service had been around when I so desperately needed help and felt so alone.
‘Thankfully, I discovered The Ripple Pond off my own bat. Without them, I really don’t know what would have happened.
‘Now there is an NHS 111 service and the High Intensity Service across Hampshire, I feel people will not be left to fend for themselves.’
Andy Spencer, armed forces lead manager, added: ‘We hope that veterans and those looking after them will feel confident in using the NHS 111 service when there is a need for crisis mental health support. Just tell the call handler you or your loved one is a veteran and your call will be handled by specialists who can help.
‘We know that Christmas, whilst a wonderful time for many, does see an increase in problems relating to ill health, including domestic violence, an increase in alcohol consumption and gambling.
‘With the High Intensity Service on hand, Solent and our partners, including Ripple Pond and All Call Signs, aim to provide a wrap around service, looking after the whole family as needed.’