Wellbeing and Mental Health
Taking care of your physical and mental health is important for your wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and happy:
- Register at your GP so they know ‘YOU HAVE SERVED’ and it is on your documents. There is then (and only then) a better funded care level open to you via your GP. Call them now.
- Each NHS board also has an Armed Forces and Veterans Champion. You can speak to them if you feel like the priority treatment policy hasn’t been followed, and you have not been able to resolve the problem wih the person treating you. To find out how to contact your local champion, phone NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.
- Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid excessive alcohol and tobacco.
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes a day, fives times a week. You can choose any activity that suits your preferences and abilities, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or gardening.
- Get enough sleep, at least seven to eight hours a night. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and avoid caffeine, nicotine, and screens before bedtime.
- Manage your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness.
- NHS Top Tips for Veterans gives you advice on how to get the most from your GP.
- Seek professional help if you have any health concerns or symptoms that affect your wellbeing. You can contact your GP or NHS 24 for advice or referrals.
- NHS Health Check – Home: (This is for NHS England) – This website provides information about the NHS Health Check, a check up for adults in England aged 40-74 that can help spot early sings of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia.
- The Warrior Programme – allows veterans to develop the resilience, focus, and motivation to succeed in today’s world.
- Guide to Wellbeing – this wellbeing guide provides information and guidance on how to improve one’s mental and physical health. The purpose of a wellbeing guide is to help individuals develop healthy habits and practices that can lead to a better quality of life.
- Care after Combat – this is a UK based charity providing professional assistance for the well-being of the Veteran and their family.
Many veterans may experience mental health problems as a result of their service or other factors in their lives. These problems may include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts. Here are some tops to help you deal with these problems.
- Self Help Guide helps you recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and seek helps as soon as possible. It also gives you helps with how to cope with this.
- Veterans Gateway gives you a list of peer support groups and online forums to help find people who can listen and understand what you are going through. This could also be a family member, friend, colleague, or other veterans who has experienced similar problems.
- NHS Veterans Mental Health Services website gives a list of mental health services and programmes designed for veterans and their families. Access professional help and treatment from qualified and experienced mental health professionals who can offer you the best care and support.
- For immediate Mental Health aid, call: 0800 138 1619, text: 07537 404 719, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org (If still serving call 0800 323 4444 – this is a 24/365 Mental Health helpline for serving military personnel and families, run by Combat Stress/MoD)
- If struggling, get your GP to refer you to Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) which is a new (2019) specialist, funded NHS care for UK veterans and very fast.
Adjustment to Civilian Life
Transitioning from military to civilian life can be challenging and stressful for many veterans. Here are some tips to help you adjust and adapt to your new situation:
- Plan ahead and prepare for the changes that you will face in your lifestyle, career, finances, relationships, and identity.
- Veterans Assist Scotland gives you a list of support services and organisations. Seek support from your family, friends, colleagues, or other veterans who have gone through similar experiences. You can also access various support services and organisations that cater to your specific needs and issues.
- Combat Stress is an helpline for confidential advice and support. Be open and honest about your feelings and emotions. It is normal to feel anxious, confused, angry, sad, or guilty during this time. You can talk to someone you trust or seek professional counselling if you need help coping with these feelings.
Not a happy veteran?
Adjustment reaction – It is quite normal post Infantry service to miss your friends, regimental life, and all aspects. This can be fine for some, harder for others. Depressions, anger issues, grumpiness, relationship issues etc. are experienced by many – you are not alone. It happens. This is not PTDS as many think but it still needs help. There is loads of free help out there – click our links
- PTSD is a trauma – related experience, after a bad event or stress pressure. This can be nightmare, panic or other symptoms. Veterans can suffer this, but most have adjustment reaction.
- See also the video and free access for veterans on sleeping without nightmares here.
- Prevention and Chat? Argyll Association mates offer Friendship, Communication, and care. Chat it over with friends and look online for ways you can cool off and decompress in daily life: Walking, Art, Music, Reading, Nature, Cycling, Hobbies, etc. Grab some ‘me time’ & try something new…
Managing your money and finances can be difficult and stressful for many veterans, especially during times of change and crisis. Here are some tips to help you with your money matters:
- Budget planner from Money Advice service to help you manage your income and expenses. This can help you plan you spending, save for your goals, and avoid debt.
- Veterans First Point lets you access free and impartial advice and support. Seek advice and guidance on your financial issues, such as benefits, pensions, taxes, debts or mortgages.
- Turn2Us can show you a list of grants and loans that you may be eligible for as a veteran or a family member of a veteran. These grants or loans can help you with your essential needs, such as housing, education, health, or employment.
- UK Veterans – many links about money are on this comprehensive page.
- RBL Finance & Support helps you build your understanding via the excellent fast online support.
- UKAF Pensions and Compensation is explained on their website.
- Benefits Calculator – You served your nation and paid tax so complete an independent check.
- Which provide good general tips on saving £1000 a year by the respected, independent Which video.
- UKAF Veterans’ Discount Card – register for your card here.
- UKAF Veterans’ Rail Card is available and will give you up to one third off your rail travel.
- Fares4Free – support veterans and their families throughout Scotland and whilst we work mainly by referral, we will always try to help you find the support you need.
- Ask at your branch or speak with friends/veterans before committing to any deal – check out with your mates.
Taking charge of your own wellbeing and happiness can help you cope with any challenges or difficulties that you may face as a veteran. Here are some tips to help you with self-help:
- SMART goals framework – use this tool to set realistic and achievable goals for yourself and work towards them. This can help you feel motivated, confident, and proud of your accomplishments
- Positive Affirmations Guide – Practice positive thinking and affirmations. This can help you overcome negative thoughts, emotions, or beliefs that may hold you back or harm your wellbeing.
- Seek feedback and learn from your mistakes. This can help you improve your skills, knowledge, and performance, as well as avoid repeating the same errors in the future. You can use the feedback modules to help you with this task.
As you grow older, you may face some specific changes or issues related to your health, mobility, independence, or social isolation as a veteran. Here are some tips to help you with ageing veterans.
- SSAFA – Access the various services and support services that are available for ageing veterans in Scotland. These services and support can help you with your daily living needs, such as personal care, home adaptations, transport, meals or respite care.
- AgeScotland – provide free information and advice to help on a range of topics. They also have a free, confidential phone service – Call: 0800 1244 222
- Legion Scotland offer befriending visits to help and support you to re-connect with your community if you have lost touch. You call also call them on 0131 55 1560.
- Sight Scotland Veterans has activity centres for its members in West Lothian and Renfrewshire, and runs a social programme for visually impaired veterans across Scotland. You can also call them on 0800 035 6409.
- Scottish Older People’s Assembly – brings together individuals and organisations, empowering them to use their experience and skills to influence policy decisions that affect later life.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious, lonely, or overwhelmed, you can text Shout SMS for free, confidential, and 24/7 support from trained volunteers. Shout SMS is a service that helps veterans cope with any challenges that they may face in their lives. To start a conversation, text SHOUT to 85258. You can also find the website here.