VETERANS suffering from mental health issues in Scotland are set to benefit from a unique charity partnership.

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded a grant of more than £100,000 to Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine, a unique partnership run by national volunteering charity TimeBank and Scotland’s leading veterans’ charity Erskine.

It will help veterans in Glasgow and Edinburgh suffering with mental health problems to make the transition into civilian life.

Building on previous success

On average, around 27 per cent of ex-Servicemen and women experience a common mental health disorder, such as anxiety and depression.

TimeBank will draw on the experience of its successful Shoulder to Shoulder projects in London and Birmingham to run a two-year volunteer mentoring programme in Scotland for 80 ex-Service personnel and 20 of their immediate family members.

The volunteers will be working directly with veterans who are recovering from mental health issues; many sufferers struggle to adjust to life after the military and family members are not always able to provide the necessary support.

Helping those most at risk

The project’s beneficiaries will include early Service leavers and older non-commissioned officers – both groups identified as being at particular risk of homelessness, unemployment, crime and domestic and community violence.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, said: “Many veterans are in a state of crisis in their lives, with complex and multi-faceted problems including financial hardship, homelessness, alcohol dependency and health issues including depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

“We know from our projects that mentoring can be a powerful tool to alleviate their stress and isolation.”

The new project has also received a grant of £65,000 from the Henry Smith Charity, which already supports the TimeBank Shoulder to Shoulder programme.

For more information, see www.timebank.org.uk or www.erskine.org.uk

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