Sussex Partnership has been reaccredited ‘Veterans Aware’ status

A Sussex based veteran’s charity is one of 100 charities to have been given ‘Veterans Aware’ status.

A Sussex veteran’s charity has been given Veterans Aware status for its work in helping ex-service people with their mental health.

The announcement, which recognises Sussex Partnership’s commitment to improving NHS mental health care for serving members of the armed forces, veterans and reservists, comes as residents across Sussex prepare to mark Armed Forces Day on Saturday, June 25.

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Sussex Partnership is one of 104 NHS trusts to have been awarded Veteran Aware status, which is granted by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance to recognise the Trust's continuous improvement as an exemplar of the best standards of care for the Armed Forces community.

The Trust has established Op Courage: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service which includes the Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service, Complex Treatment Service and High Intensity Service, to offer free NHS mental health services to all ex-serving members of the UK Armed Forces and service personnel.

The Op Courage team will be at Worthing Armed Forces Day in Steyne Gardens, between 10am - 4pm on Saturday, June 25. There will also be military vehicles, a Battle of Britain Fly past, stalls and music. Op Courage will also be joining 254 Medical Regiment at Great Lines Heritage Park in Gillingham, Kent, where there will be military medical displays and the Military Wives Choir. Both events provide an opportunity to meet people involved in the armed forces community. Members of the public are invited to come along and talk to the team to find out more about what they do.

The Veteran Aware mark highlights NHS trusts that have made a series of pledges, such as ensuring members of the armed forces community are never disadvantaged when receiving care, training staff on veteran-specific needs, and supporting the armed forces as an employer.

Andy Stubbs, Armed Forces Covenant lead manager at the Trust and a reservist serving as a major in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps 245, Medical Regiment, said: "Veterans Aware is a great initiative and one that we are delighted to be a part of. Achieving this accreditation is fantastic.

"Meeting the health and care needs of our local veterans community is one of our top priorities, and this accreditation ensures we keep their particular needs at the heart of the care we provide."

Dr Jane Padmore, chief executive at Sussex Partnership, said: “Being reaccredited as a veteran Aware NHS trusts makes me feel so proud. It demonstrates the continuous hard work and dedication of our staff to understand how we can better support armed forces veterans.

“Being Veteran Aware is all about improving the healthcare that veterans receive. At Sussex Partnership we have a range of support available through Op Courage: The Veterans Mental Health Service. We’re also part of ‘Step into Health’, an initiative that helps ex-service personnel gain employment or work experience in the Trust, bringing a huge range of experience and transferrable skills to the NHS.

“We hope this reaccreditation gives veterans living in our local community confidence that our staff understand their needs and are committed to giving them the right support when they need it.”

For more about Veterans Aware visit veteranaware.nhs.uk.

For more information about Op Courage visit sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/veterans.