Combat Stress provides a range of community, outpatient and residential mental health services to veterans with complex mental health problems across the UK. We provide services in-person,and via phone and on-line. We are the only national providers for veterans’ mental health care and treatment in Scotland and are funded by the Scottish Government.
Our Vision – we want all former servicemen and women with complex mental health problems to live full and meaningful lives.
Our Mission – to deliver specialist treatment for veterans with complex mental health needs, whilst supporting their families and network to help them tackle the past and take on the future.
Our Ambition – we want every veteran in the UK with complex mental health problems, supporting their families and networks to know that lasting recovery starts at Combat Stress.
Together: We are united in purpose, collaborative in action.
Focused: We’re clear about what we will and won’t do to deliver the best outcomes.
Bold: We’ll do and say what we must to achieve our organisation’s vision.
Personal: We respect diversity and appreciate everyone’s individual needs and talents.
Combat Stress provides a range of community, outpatient and residential mental health services to veterans with complex mental health problems across the UK. We provide services in-person, and via phone and online. The work we do is life-changing and often lifesaving, no one else does what Combat Stress does.
In Scotland, we deliver intensive support in all regions, as well as via a digital platform. We achieve this through high quality, evidence-based treatment informed by international research and practice. Our research team is internationally recognised, and our outcomes are world leading when compared to other countries’ veteran mental health services.
Our treatment programmes are delivered by our expert teams including psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses and occupational therapists. These professionals are in turn supported by colleagues who specialise in substance use, art therapy and peer and family support. Collectively, we provide highly personalised and holistic veteran care based on a trauma-informed, military-aware and inter-disclinary approach. We understand that everyone is unique, and our highly skilled clinical teams work with each individual to tailor the right support for their needs.
Combat Stress is at an exciting time of its growth and the Head of Operations for Scotland will provide inspirational and enthusiastic leadership throughout this period and beyond. We have recently invested in new bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness whilst using a wide range of community touch points as Scotland to extend our reach and accessibility.
Our aim is not only to provide high quality care and treatment but support other agencies through the provision of advice, capacity building and training to reduce any inequalities experience by veterans; teams therefore work closely with a wide range of other agencies including the Scottish Prison Service, NHS mental health and addictions teams, Local Authorities and Criminal Justice Agencies. We are committed to partnership working to provide integrated care to veterans, and we have very positive relationships with these agencies, as well as with our commissioners.
Our quality credentials
Providing a high-quality service is of the utmost importance to us, and we have a wide range of quality credentials:
- Registered with Care Inspectorate in Scotland, with ‘good’ and ‘very good’ ratings
- Registered with Care Quality Commission in England, with a ‘good’ rating
- Registered with the Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority in Northern Ireland. RQIA were satisfied with the inspection in October 2021 and did not identify any areas for improvement – testament to the staff adherence and compliance with standards (RQIA does not provide ratings).
- Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Quality Network for Veterans’ Mental Health Services
- Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award
- A finalist in the 2021 Royal College of Psychiatrists Team of the Year Award
- A finalist in the 2021 Health Service Journal Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award
- A member of the Confederation of Service Charities
- A member of the Contact Group
- A member of the Five Eyes international research collaboration
- Committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – have worked with Employers’ Network for Equality and Inclusion and applying for the Pride in Veterans Standard
- In a partnership with Virginia Mason Institute (Seattle, USA) to deliver Combat Stress’ Continuous Improvement Strategy
All treatment we offer is in line with Scotland’s SIGN and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Treatment Guidelines and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Treatment Guidelines. We are registered with the Care Inspectorate and accredited with the Royal College of Psychiatrists accreditation programme for mental health.
Our work with veterans who are experiencing PTSD, Complex PTSD and significant mental health issues has allowed us to become a UK leader in trauma-informed care and specifically the treatment of military related trauma.
Our internationally renowned research
- Our research team is part of national and international projects contributing to research in veterans’ mental health and innovations in treatment. Our clinicians use this to continually improve the effectiveness of our service and ensure we are delivering evidence-based treatments.
- Our research department was established in 2014 and is led by Prof Dominic Murphy. We are committed to publishing our research in external peer-reviewed academic journals as part of our commitment to contribute to the advancement of the veteran mental health field. We recently published our 100th paper.
- Professor Murphy is a member of the Kings Centre for Military Health research at Kings College London. Our research department operates between the two organisations to ensure our research is of the highest standards.
- Our research team investigates veterans’ mental health needs, evaluates treatment outcomes and pilots new clinical interventions, which can be developed into our service.
- Along with our Five Eyes allies in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Combat Stress is a world leader in veterans’ mental health, at the very forefront of developing, assessing, and introducing new and improved diagnoses and treatment of veterans’ complex trauma-related mental health needs.
Our role in Scotland’s National Development
Combat Stress are working closely with the Scottish Government to implement the Veteran’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan for Scotland.
This will outline a clear vision for Scotland’s future; Combat Stress and its partners will be required to ensure alignment with its principles over the following years and work closely with other partners to achieve it.
Our partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute
We have established a long-term improvement partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute (VMI) from the United States. VMI has achieved world-leading outcomes for patients, both through its health service delivery in the USA and through supporting the NHS and other organisations around the world. Our collaborative programme has involved leadership alignment, an organisational cultural assessment, training for all involved staff in improvement management and a specific focus on several key improvement projects. Staff at all levels of the organisation are involved, together with service user representatives from our National Veterans Voice group. The programme also provides support and guidance in the form of coaching and facilitation, with an emphasis on practical application. A key focus is on continuous quality improvement, and reducing the ‘burden’ of work.
The ethos of the VMI programme is that staff and veterans are the experts, and the Virginia Mason principles, tools and methods will provide us with a systematic and shared approach to harness the organisation’s expertise, wisdom, and creativity – to support lasting positive change with and for veterans.
We are a UK wide charity and as such have a Board of Trustees providing governance. We have Scottish representatives as serving Trustees and Scotland has its own unique leadership, service approach and internal governance structures such as a local clinical governance committee and strategy and performance forums, which meet Scotland’s needs, but also actively contribute to aims of the UK charity as a whole.
Co-production is a key priority for Combat Stress, and the National Veterans Voice and Scotland’s Veteran Group is involved in strategy development and implementation, and also in the design, delivery and evaluation of the services we deliver.
Combat Stress is a circa £13million annual turnover organisation with 180 staff. In Scotland the budget is circa £2m. The Scottish Government currently provides 60% of the funding for the services in Scotland.