Future of Mental Health in Sussex

This week experts have come together to help shape the future of NHS mental health and wellbeing services for the armed forces community in Sussex.

The Armed Forces Community Conference brought together the experience and expertise of passionate individuals to determine how to best support the mental health and wellbeing of our local military community.

The conference was organised by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health, learning disability and neurodevelopmental services to people living in the south east.

Those attending the conference included Dr Jane Padmore, Chief Executive at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Kate Parkin, NHS Director, Armed Forces Community for both NHS Sussex and NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Boards, along with healthcare professionals, partner organisations, armed forces personnel, and community leaders and charitable organisations.

Dr Jane Padmore welcomed everyone to the conference, and said: “I am honoured to be at the Armed Forces Conference. Having everyone come together like this is amazing because together we can ensure the very best care and support to our armed forces community. I want us to look back on this in a year’s time and say the quality of people’s lives has been improved following everyone coming together today.”

Over 50 people came along to the conference which featured inspirational keynote speakers from the armed forces community, interactive stands, and networking sessions.

The keynote speakers included Nick Wood, who spoke about The Military Human – a training programme to educate the different aspects of the experience of veterans, and Spencer Bull, who shared his story about being medically discharged from the British Army with Multiple Sclerosis after 29 years-service.

There were video messages from Jonny Mercer, Minister of State for Veterans, and David Richmond, Independent Veteran’s Advisor. Along with Danny Kinehan, Veteran’s Commissioner in Northern Ireland, and James Phillips, Veteran’s Commissioner in Wales who shared their perspective on the armed forces community in their local areas.

Major Andy Stubbs, Armed Forces Covenant Lead Manager at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and Reservist with 256 Multi-Role Medical Regiment, 220 Squadron, organised the conference.

Andy said: “It has been an inspiring and really informative conference. Some of the key themes we are taking away from the conference are that we need to work together in partnership to offer the best support to our veterans.

“We need to ensure there is an understanding of military life within the healthcare system, especially around how veteran’s lives dramatically change when they transition from military life to civilian life. This includes listening to the person, finding out their individual needs and worries, getting the right support.

“I want to thank all our speakers for their amazing contributions, everyone who came along to the conference for their input, and the team behind the scenes who helped make today a success. We have gathered a whole range of information that will go towards helping us develop and make positive changes to how we provide support to the armed forces community in Sussex.” If you are a member of the armed forces community living in Sussex and you need NHS treatment and support with your mental health and wellbeing, get in touch with Op COURAGE South East: opcouragesoutheast.nhs.uk

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