Families of veterans with mental health conditions need more support says MS
The MS for North Wales has called on the Welsh Government to do more to support families of veterans with mental health conditions.
Mark Isherwood MS pointed to concerns raised by the Forces in Mind Trust which found that whilst support is available for veterans with mental health conditions, it is not there for their families.
Speaking in the Senedd, he said: “Last week, the Forces in Mind Trust published their new report, ‘Developing a model of the Restorative Approaches Veteran Family Service’.
“This followed a three-year evaluation study, carried out by the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) at Cardiff University, of a new service, The Restorative Approaches Veterans and Family Service (RAVFS) that utilises Restorative Engagement to help ex-Service personnel and their families improve their relationships, communication, and family functioning.
“This innovative new service is provided by Welsh children’s charity ‘TGP Cymru’ and was developed in collaboration with Veterans NHS Wales.”
TGP runs a Veterans and Family Engagement Service which is a 2-year programme, which began in January 2021.
It is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant and provided by TGP Cymru and aims to provide support for Veterans and their families to help build positive relationships, minimise conflict leading to family breakdown and empower them to seek specialist services when needed.
Mr Isherwood added “As the Forces in Mind Trust state, there is currently a gap in provision of support for the families of veterans with mental health conditions.
“Their Policy Statement on Relationships outlines that, while support is available for Veterans, their families are often left behind.
“They recommend more integrated support for families in Veterans’ mental health services and increased involvement of the family in transition from the military to civilian life.
“The findings from this study suggest that services such as the RAFVS could help provide this missing support and call for a wider roll out, perhaps to the Veterans NHS Wales population across all Welsh Local Health Boards. I call for a Statement accordingly.”
The Trefnydd, Lesley Griffith MS for Wrexham, replied: “I know that the Deputy Minister for Mental Health Services is aware of the report. Perhaps when she has considered it, she could have a conversation with the Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, to see if anything further can be done”.
According to TGP website they deliver a programme of group workshops that Veterans and their families can attend with other families.
In addition to regularly run group workshops, Veterans and their families are offered facilitated individual family sessions with the aim of supporting them to:
- Identify their strengths and communicate in a way that identifies their needs
- Explore and jointly find solutions that enable needs to be met and help everyone affected to move forward
- More effectively manage conflict (that can often lead to family breakdown if left unaddressed)
- Seek specialist services when needed
Currently, all provision is facilitated through remote, live online sessions via Zoom or Teams and self-referrals from Veterans and their family members, as well as from professionals are encouraged.
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