More Help for Armed Forces in Oxford

Members of the armed forces who are suffering from mental health problems are getting more help in the Oxford area.

Traumatic experiences in war zones can leave service personnel suffering from things like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Adjusting to civilian life can be difficult as they recall life-threatening situations, experience flashbacks, night terrors and panic attacks.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with the charity Combat Stress to offer counselling sessions to veterans when they return from conflicts.

Graham Poulter, South Central Regional Community Psychiatric Nurse with Combat Stress, explained:

"We are excited to have found a venue for the veterans, so they can now get support from both fellow veterans and from our clinical and welfare practitioners, and our NHS colleagues.

"We want the group to nurture the development of self-support in the veteran community within Oxford, as well as being a place that they know they can come to on a monthly basis, for face-to-face and one-to-one support, if required."

Martina Mueller, Clinical Psychologist with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said they are delighted to collaborate with Combat Stress on the project;

"In my role as a psychologist, I work with people who have been exposed to severe trauma, helping them cope with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. In the last ten years, I have seen a substantial increase in referrals from veterans.

"This has been because of greater awareness of the treatments that are available to those from the armed services and also as a result of the rising numbers of those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ms Mueller added they had worked well with the charity previously and was looking forward to helping veterans with these "devastating psychological conditions."