Introducing Re:Pair a specialist programme for Veterans and their partners

Thursday 24 March 2016

Guest post by Steve James, Help for Heroes Psychological Wellbeing Advisor

Do you remember lessons about relationships at school? No? That’s because there probably weren’t any. For most of us, learning how to be in a relationship and get the most from it doesn’t come as naturally as we might hope – it’s mostly a process of trial and error. The common issues everyone faces can be even more difficult within the military community because of the impact that training and serving has on the individual and their partners. The skills and traits which are essential while serving are often the same things which sometimes create rifts in relationships. Add difficulties such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression or anger in to the mix and things can become even more problematic.


Re:Pair is a programme specifically designed for veterans and their partners and has been running with huge success in Australia for over twenty years. Help for Heroes has worked hard to bring this programme to the UK over the last 18 months. It covers a range of areas including communication skills, understanding and managing various common mental health difficulties (for both sufferers and their partners) as well as exercises to bring couples closer. All parts of the programme are very interactive and there are exercises which allow partners and veterans to share their experiences separately – all with the knowledge that it is a safe and confidential environment. There is also a good amount of free time for couples to use the various facilities the venue offers, go out for a walk or practice the skills they’ve learnt.

Our most recent course ran in February and was a huge success. It was a residential course held at the Blunsdon House Hotel on the outskirts of Swindon facilitated by me, my colleague Theresa Mitchell and Julie Lacy (who has ten years’ experience running this programme in Australia). Seven couples attended and their transformation over the week was remarkable. Couples found that they were far more able to appreciate the difficulties that the other faces and gain a greater understanding of what it is that makes their relationship work. Both the veterans and the partners were equally valued and felt encouraged to make positive changes and adapt their existing skills and strengths to help them make their relationship the way they would both like it to be.

“The three tutors were fantastic in their presentation, giving care and compassion where necessary, encouraging those who may be a little reticent amongst the group members and certainly offering help when needed.

“We were given the answers I-for-one  had been desperately seeking over all these past years, feeling totally left out and yet still expected to give the right support at all the right times.

“We, and I feel sure I can say this for the rest of those who took part, have obtained a far better understanding of PTSD and have now been given the tools to cope for the future.” - Jenny & Tam Edmondson, Help for Heroes beneficiaries


Help for Heroes has secured a Parliamentary review of Veterans Mental Health

Monday 5 February 2018

After Help for Heroes raised concerns with MPs about the provision and understanding of Veterans Mental Health, the Defence Select Committee has annou...

Read More

Army Veteran to run the North Pole Marathon

Thursday 25 January 2018

A former soldier who was medically discharged from the Army with mental health issues is aiming to complete a trio of challenges in aid of Help for He...

Read More

Fiona's Story

Friday 12 January 2018

This Blue Monday, find out more about the effect a veteran's mental health can have on their loved ones and how support from Help for Heroes can help ...

Read More


You can change someone's life today

Big or small, every donation makes a difference to our wounded Servicemen and women and their loved ones.