Helping Military Veterans

First Step provides a service for military veterans with common mental health problems

Both the stories of military veterans and research evidence tells us that although most military veterans are able to make the transition to civilian life successfully, for some this can be a difficult time. Leaving the structure of military life and engaging in the uncertainty of a new life can be difficult. Many military veterans may also have experienced or witnessed traumatic events which can lead to nightmares, flashbacks or a current sense of danger even when they are out of the combat area. For some people this can lead to low mood, avoiding places or using alcohol or drugs as a way of trying to cope. Some research also suggests that reservists may also experience similar difficulties to their regular colleagues.

First Step provides rapid access to evidence-based therapies for military veterans with common mental health problems such as depression or anxiety disorders (e.g. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder). We work closely with our local drug and alcohol services as well as regional services specifically for military veterans such as Combat Stress and we are able to work alongside, or as part of, the reservists mental health programme, run by the Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre (RTMC).

Many military veterans have already received help from First Step and were able to make massive changes to their problems. Some have come with recent problems following service in Afghanistan or Iraq but sometimes problems have arisen long after discharge and we have helped people who served in more distant conflicts such as Northern Ireland or Bosnia. We have worked with both reservists and veterans from regular forces.

Please click here to find out details of how to refer yourself to First Step for a telephone assessment to see if we may be able to help. We are able to provide an initial telephone assessment for most people within two weeks.

Useful links - Online support for Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Combat Stress - The veterans' mental health charity
Combat Stress - support for members of the reserve forces

Combat Stress provides effective clinical treatment and support to Veterans of the British Armed Forces, as well as to currently serving and ex members of the Army Reserve (formerly known as the Territorial Army (TA)) and Reserve Forces, who are suffering mental ill health. Members of the Reserve Forces are normally NHS patients in civilian life and it is of note that there are a number of Army Reserve Units in the North West. Combat Stress treatment and support is delivered UK wide by 14 Outreach Teams and at our three Residential Treatment Centres. Our clients in the North West are visited by our Region Outreach and Community Team, and many also attend our clinical treatment centre in Scotland at Hollybush House just outside Ayr.
Combat Stress also operates a UK wide 24 hour, 365 days a year helpline on 0800 138 1619 for the military community and their families, including Reservists and ex Reservists. Additionally, the Combat Stress Support Desk for the North West can be contacted on 01292 561355 or by e mail to:

The Combat Stress Reserve Forces Liaison Officer is Lieutenant Commander Glen MacDonald Royal Navy (Retired), and he may be contacted on 07833 941951 or by e mail to:

All of our services are free of charge to our clients. Combat Stress is a registered Charity funded partly by the NHS and partly through charitable fundraising and donations etc. More information is available on our website at:



In this section:

How we can help you

Quick facts

How to access First Step

Our team

Self help resources

Common disorders

Professional Zone

Stress Control Courses

Helping military veterans


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