Nuclear Community psychiatric and psychological assessment and treatment program.

Combat Stress

Project Organisation: Combat Stress (Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society)
Project Cost: £243,900

Psychiatric and Psychological Programme

Project Activity
Combat Stress will deliver a mental health outpatient service to the nuclear community. This will comprise psychiatric and psychological assessment and treatment. Treatment will comprise evidence-based NICE Guideline recommended medication and therapies. 

Clinics will be run by Combat Stress suitably qualified and professionally registered Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Therapists. Patients will be seen as required, for follow-up by psychiatrists for mental state reviews and medication monitoring. Psychiatric follow-up could range between very few to more significant numbers of outpatient sessions depending on clinical need.

Individual therapy sessions will be delivered by psychologists and therapists. An average of 12 -16 hours of therapy is required to treat the most common moderately severe mental illnesses.

Clinics will be held at selected Royal British Legion ‘Pop in Centres’ alongside mainstream community health services already delivered by Combat Stress at these sites. Outcomes will be measured; Clinical Governance policies and procedures will be in place.

In the 1950s, 21,542 service personnel were exposed to Nuclear Experiments. Many married and have descendents. Veterans and family members from the Nuclear community will access this service. High levels of mental illness were evident in a BNTVA Needs report of 2011. This audit included 633 respondents.

Higher than expected levels of ‘stress’, ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ and ‘mental illness’ were found. Much of this was attributed related to concerns related to possible exposure to radiation and passing on genetic diseases to descendents. High levels of self-reported physical illness perceived as attributable to the Experiments were demonstrated as well.

The audit demonstrated high levels of difficulty in making NHS health professionals understand issues surrounding the nuclear experiments impeding engagement with statutory NHS services. Combat Stress is the largest veterans’ mental health charity delivering bespoke mental health services to veterans. It has high treatment engagement and
completion rates.

Following a promising start the project began to flounder and toward the end of 2016 action had to be taken against the Project Organisation.

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