The transfer from the MoD to civilian life is tremendous, and one that many veterans struggle with for many years. Lavinia has worked within the Psychiatric Department at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, as well as in the TIL Veterans service within the NHS. There remain challenges on both sides and there is a large gap in support for veterans who are struggling with their mental ill health.
If you are a veteran, or know of a veteran struggling with mental ill health, despite having accessed a number of services, we may well be in a position to help and support you in your recovery. Many veterans struggle to adapt to civilian life due to the loss of comradeship, work/life structure, and status (transitioning from No. 1 protector of the UK sea, land, and air to ‘just’ another civilian). Many struggle without the benefits that the MoD provided with the job, and adjusting from being within a unit/platoon to being alone without back-up support.
Veterans also suffer with trauma following experiences in the wars in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Syria, Afghanistan and many more with loss of friends, loss of limbs, and loss of self. Nightmares, sensory issues, and low self-esteem become a debilitating experience that also impacts the family. Many veterans feel lonely, isolated, out of their depth in terms of coping, and feeling a burden to their family, their community, and society in general. Some feel that their training to do a job within the forces is now no longer a useful commodity within civilian life.
This is where Lavinia is a very skilled and experienced clinician. She works to help clients piece together the parts that will enable them to adapt and fit back into civilian life, and teaches them how to build on their strengths. Lavinia has helped many veterans who have had active suicidal plans to begin to see that there is hope and, more importantly, helps them on a path to recovery to start building a new life for themselves.
The M Word is also fortunate in liaising with many specialist military charities as well as having Non-Executive Director Ron Pimm (Capt., Rtd) on board as a supporter and advisor. Lavinia has many letters of recommendation related to her work with veterans across the UK, as well as support from other agencies, who have often identified areas in Lavinia’s outcomes that other professionals have missed. We also actively encourage veterans to apply as volunteers to act as ‘buddies’ to support those going through therapy, knowing that this can aid a veteran’s recovery even more swiftly