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Counselling Support for Veterans Expanded

Published on 14 March 2024 12:22 PM

With the support of a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, Age UK Plymouth have been able to deliver a series of one-to-one counselling sessions designed to support veterans who might be looking to build and maintain good mental health.

A flexible six to 10 week programme is available free of charge to veterans over 50 years or with disabilities and has been utilised by those living with a range of challenges to their mental wellbeing including PTSD, low level depression and social isolation.

The funding has seen a qualified, independent Therapeutic Counsellor appointed and the program is going from strength to strength with the service now diversifying into group therapy sessions. With previous courses of group sessions focusing on themes such as “Coping with Anxiety and Depression”, these group counselling sessions offer a space for clients to share with others who feel the same and can look to finding a way forward together.

Georgina Edwards of Counterpoint Therapy has been running both the individual and group sessions, “All of our counselling opportunities start with a one-to-one consultation with myself, it’s important to establish if the counselling process is suitable for their needs and set their expectations so that they can get the greatest possible benefit from the service.

“It takes a lot of courage to recognised that you could benefit from additional support. By engaging with the service, I hope people will have the opportunity to explore what they bring in a held and supported environment, where they can find a new way of viewing and approaching their concerns, and a different way to relate to those around them.”

Sarah Allen, Age UK Plymouth’s Head of Wellbeing, Information and Advice explains the importance of making the service easily available to the city’s veterans, “Counselling can offer an important opportunity for anyone to improve their wellbeing. As a charity working with people over 50 we’re supporting a generation for whom mental health just wasn’t part of the conversation. In a time when accessing mental health support can be a lengthy and arduous process, it is of the upmost importance that we are able to bring an easily accessible service to our clients.”

Feedback for the service has been overwhelmingly positive with one client saying, “The counsellor was very empathic in understanding my thoughts and feelings, and was able to ‘pull’ me out of the shell I had sought refuge in.” Another client stated that their experience was “Excellent, on all counts, and Georgina is an exceptional counsellor.”

Individual counselling sessions take place at Age UK Plymouth’s William and Patricia Venton Centre in Mount Gould with virtual, online sessions available by request. Drop in group sessions start on Wednesday 20th March at Four Greens Community Trust, with topics including “Reconnecting with Civilian Life after leaving the Forces”, “Recognising the impact of PTSD on Everyday Life” and “Ways of Reconnecting Positively with your Family, Friends and Community.”

For more information about taking part or referring someone into the Regi-Mental Wellbeing Service, please email or call 07300 334033.