MILITARY SUPPORT
SERVING & VETERANS

The UK provides military defence to protect & serve the nation, as well as the King's states abroad.

There are many nationalities who join forces with ours to gain experience as well as building strong partnerships. For those currently and have served for the UK, it is a communal Code of Conduct, there is a sense of national pride and camaraderie. It is instilled in them to see themselves as the first line of defence whether they are doing what might be seen as a boring and repetitive job in manning the gates to a military base, or an intense job of data analysing to understanding tactile manoeuvres, or a physically demanding job of repairing military vehicles. 

Serving members have access to mental health support, but, like civilians, have to make appointments. There is still the concern from some serving personnel that involvement with the local mental health will in some way negatively impact their career progression. For others, their deemed local mental health department may well involve driving some considerable distance (ie Tidworth or Yeovilton having to attend Portsmouth). Whilst some feel their mental health is impacted by their job and/or environment, for others it well maybe due to their personal lives. Regardless of your situation, you may wish to have it separate from your military life, to have an outside perspective from a clinician who has a good understanding of the military as well as civilian life and the challenges you might face.

The transfer from the MoD to civilian life is tremendous, and one that many Veterans struggle with for many years. It can range from being stressful, to distressing, to actually causing trauma. There remain challenges on both sides, and there is a large gap in support for Veterans who are struggling with their mental ill-health. Many Veterans struggle to adapt to civilian life simply 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 a part of their unit/platoon to being alone without backup support.

Ex-serving military members may suffer from 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.


 

Lavinia's background

Lavinia spent half her childhood as a "forces brat" moving every 12-19 months from one Royal Air Force Station (RAF) to the next. She has lived in MoD housing estates in Kinloss (Scotland), Marham (England), Hawarden (Wales), and as a young adult in Gosport and Plymouth (England). Lavinia spent three years at boarding school, due to the succession of moves, to offer some consistency in her education.

Lavinia worked within the Psychiatric Department at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard which covered all three services covering a wide area. Lavinia provided Mental Health assessments as well as therapeutic support in a serving personnel’s recovery. This ranged from supporting those who were experiencing low mood feeling that the military was not conducive to their mental health, for those who were facing time in Colchester, for those who had struggled with addictions due to the nature of their job, as well as those who were being medically discharged from the services. Lavinia has also worked in the TIL Veterans service within the NHS covering the south west (bottom of Cornwall to the tip of Dorset). Many individuals were seeking further therapeutic support, were homeless and jobless, or simply struggling to adapt to civilian life and feeling suicidal without their military camaraderie to engage with on a daily basis. 

Lavinia 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. She 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.
 

What is Our approach?

Lavinia’s model of care Emotional Problem Solving is a unique approach consisting of a combination of talking therapy embracing Social Role Valorisation (SRV), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), and Counselling.

SRV looks at the individual, their environment and the impacts on them both positively and negatively, and challenges negative perceptions and fixed beliefs. CBT challenges our negative thoughts and feelings, IPT explores our relationships and their impact, and Counselling teaches us to listen to ourselves.

Emotional Problem Solving consists of an initial assessment (1.5hrs) followed by further sessions (1hr +) through a choice of packages depending on your needs.

Your Clinical Nurse Therapist is only a phone call away if you need support through the therapy. Telephone, videolink, text, or email support continues to be offered throughout the therapy.

Lavinia has always asserted that “Mental Health affects everybody, not just anybody!” from the moment we are conceived to the moment we die. It is important to know ourselves really well to enable us to recognise the triggers that impact on our mental health, as well as our physical health, but also the right coping mechanisms that empower us, build our confidence and resilience.

 

What are the benefits?

  • Empowering the client to regain control of their life without the use of medication (e.g., anti-depressants/anxiolytics) or negative coping mechanisms (e.g. alcohol/drugs/sex/self-harm).
  • Building a reliable relationship, maintain clients’ confidentiality
  • Creating a safe space, remaining  non-judgemental
  • Upholding an open and honest connection

These are the key attributes to our success! We value each and every client as a unique individual. We treat each client as a VIP, as this starts the process of their recovery.

By being non-judgemental, maintaining confidentiality and discretion, we allow the client to relax immediately and not fear the stigma of mental health. The client is encouraged to talk freely and at length about their emotional problems.

Our clients often say they have been ‘given a licence’ to think about themselves. Many have commented on the comfort of the confidential and non-judgemental approach.

What is the role of Emotional Problem Solving Nurse Consultant?

  • Helping Clients to identify problematic issues
  • Help recognise the triggers that attacks their self-esteem
  • Teach new positive coping mechanisms for life
  • Provide a variety of support - telephone/text/email

hesitating is a temporary plaster, there is still time to make the first positive step!

 

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.

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