New service aims to help veterans facing mental health crisis in Norfolk

Luke Woodley

Luke Woodley - Credit: Archant

A new service which aims to provide expert help and support to veterans facing a mental health crisis will launch next month.

The Veteran's Response Partnership will see volunteers called to support police during out-of-hours incidents involving ex-service personnel in Norfolk and Waveney.

The most vulnerable veterans with known mental health problems will be flagged up on the police system so volunteers can be alerted as soon as a call comes in.

Experienced volunteers will have access to a special response car, and will work alongside teams from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) to assess the individual and offer peer support.

The overall aim is to keep people out of police cells and help them get any further support, whether it be for housing or drink and drug problems.

It will launch in early October, and is the brainchild of army veteran Luke Woodley, who pieced his life back together after developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said: 'These people are very vulnerable. Our aim is to support them better using people who speak the same language and understand where they are coming from.

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'If they are detained under section 136, we will stay with them and support them so that we can make the whole experience as easy for them as possible. '

It will be run by the Walnut Tree Project, in collaboration with the NSFT, Norfolk police, HMP Norwich, Veterans Norfolk and Outside the Wire.

Visit www.nsft.nhs.uk/Find-help/Pages/Help-for-veterans.aspx for more information.

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