Shoulder to Shoulder
One to one support for ex‑service men and women recovering from mental health issues
Shoulder to Shoulder is a mentoring project matching volunteers with ex-service men and women (including former reservists and TA) who are recovering from mental health problems.
We have two Shoulder to Shoulder projects running at the moment - one in London and one in Birmingham.
We’ve had a phenomenal response from volunteers in the London area. This is great news - but it does mean that we're not recruiting any more mentors in London for the moment. But if you are in Birmingham and want to get involved, please get in touch!
On average 20,000 Service men and women return to civilian life every year. The majority resettle successfully. However, nearly 20% have a mental health problem resulting from traumas and injuries they experienced during active service.**
These can include anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder – conditions that make it difficult to adjust to life after the military and which can lead to homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, relationship and physical health problems.
Volunteer mentoring can be a powerful tool. It can support veterans to lead independent lives, with the confidence to identify goals, lead on their own recovery plans and take control of their lives. Mentoring means that they will need less support from already over-stretched mental health services, and will be able to make more informed choices about the health care they need.
Mentors don't need any special experience - time, patience and an understanding of the issues are most important. And TimeBank provides full training.
Shoulder to Shoulder is supported by Combat Stress and The Royal British Legion. Veterans are referred by a range of veterans’ support organisations, GPs and the Probation Service, or by contacting us directly.
** Mental Health Network NHS Confederation briefing November 2010, issue 210.