Male and female soldiers

Online support forum for women and veterans launches

In more good news for veterans, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is launching a new online forum for women who have served or are still serving as reservists in the military.

The forum will help the women by giving them the opportunity to share their experiences and learn about the different types of support available to them, which may aid them in their transition back into civilian life.

The aim of the project is to provide a safe space that facilitates useful conversations around mental health and wellbeing, whilst also exploring common themes the participants have observed and ultimately develop a supportive community that women and veterans can grow and lean on.

Senior Armed Forces and Veterans Practitioner, Michelle Firmin, who is setting up the programme, decided to take action after learning about the problems certain women face during her time at the Ministry of Defence.

She said: “We hope to explore some specific areas that adjustment to civilian life can bring up. This may include concerns about women’s health, fertility, childcare and getting older, for example.

“We also want to acknowledge the high levels of anxiety which may be triggered by transitioning out of the military, which can be caused by finding new employment, meeting like-minded people, being part of community and making new friends.

“We want to live up to the Trust values and work collaboratively, positively and respectfully with women and their allies to identify what they feel their needs are so that we can make sure the forum will truly support them in the most effective way.”

The meetings, which will be open to all veterans who have previously accessed mental health services and NSFT staff, will initially be online, but if the they prove to be a success the members may decide to attend events across Norfolk and Suffolk.

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NHE May/June 2024

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