Veterans: NHS Mental Health services

Mental illness is common and can affect anyone, including serving and ex-members of the armed forces and their families. While some people cope by getting support from their family and friends, or by getting help with other issues in their lives, others need clinical care and treatment, which could be from the NHS, support groups or charities. Although it’s completely normal to experience anxiety or depression after traumatic events, this can be tough to deal with. Furthermore, the culture of the armed forces can make seeking help for a mental health problem appear difficult.

Some people may not experience some of these symptoms until a few years after leaving the armed forces. They may also delay seeking help for a number of reasons, such as thinking that they can cope, fear of criticism, or feeling that NHS therapists won’t understand.

NHS support and treatment

If you think you, or your partner or spouse, may be experiencing mental health difficulties, you can get expert help from the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) or the NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS).

Both of these services are available across England and are provided by specialists in mental health who have an expert understanding of the armed forces. They’ll also help to manage your care and support across other organisations.

Families and carers can find it hard to cope when their loved ones aren’t well, so, where appropriate, help may be provided for them, too.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)

This is an enhanced local-community-based service for ex-service personnel who have military-related complex mental health problems that haven’t improved with earlier care and treatment.

The service provides intensive care and treatment including, but not limited to, support for drug and alcohol misuse, physical health, employment, housing, relationships and finances, as well as occupational and trauma-focused therapies.

Accessing NHS mental health care for veterans

To access these services, you need to go through the TILS. This can be done by contacting the service directly, or by asking your GP or a military charity to refer you.

To contact the service directly:

  • 020 3317 6818
  • or email

To access these services, you must:

  • be a resident in England
  • have served in the UK armed forces for a full day
  • be registered with a GP practice in England or be willing to register with a GP
  • be able to provide your military service number or another acceptable form of proof of eligibility

Upon receipt of referral, patients will be offered an initial face-to-face assessment within 2 weeks and, where appropriate, a first clinical appointment 2 weeks after that.

Veterans Support


24/7 Crisis support Texting service Text CONTACT TO 85258 to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer


5pm -12pm 0800 585858 

All call signs

Peer to Peer Communication service http://www.allcallsigns.orgVeterans & Reserves Mental Health Programme

0800 032 6258