In June 2021 we asked veterans, serving personnel, families and carers to respond to a survey telling us about their health and wellbeing, ambitions and concerns for the future, and experiences when it comes to accessing support*.
The voices of those we support matter to us, which is why we developed this survey alongside 25 veterans and family members, to make sure the questions were relevant and accessible. Using these survey results, we are shaping our services to support the ongoing needs of wounded veterans and their loved ones now, and in the future.
The research has revealed that many veterans and serving personnel with long-term health conditions^ are facing daily struggles in managing their health and wellbeing. 73% struggle with long-term pain, 73% face daily battles with their mental health and 82% have trouble sleeping.
Families, friends and carers* battle their own challenges - with 45% having a long-term health condition, 77% of which struggle with sleep while also supporting their loved one.
We recognise that for some, these issues will be linked. That’s why our teams of experts take a unique and holistic approach to tackling mental health, chronic pain and sleep issues as a whole.
Our Hidden Wounds team offers 121 support for common mental health problems affecting quality of life, including sleep difficulties. Our Clinical and Medical Services Team is experienced in supporting pain management and can offer referrals to pain clinics, working with our Grants Team where appropriate. We have expanded the team to include more Occupational Therapists who can offer 121 support and sleep clinics. They also provide ongoing support to the War Injuries Clinic.
Our Recovery College offers several facilitated courses, including The Art of Sleep, and also 10 self-help guides which can be accessed via our website. We are also currently developing new courses in Pain Resilience and Managing Prosthetics which will be available soon.
For a small number of veterans, personalised physical activity and movement plans are developed which can assist in managing long-term health conditions.
Our Case Managers work with individuals and families to assess needs, identify priorities and oversee action plans where there are multiple support requirements, so we can recommend the best recovery path for veterans with the support of their loved ones, making use of all the expertise we have available within the Charity and with our partners.
We are focusing on delivering our services in the community and online, where we believe we can have the best impact for the greatest number of wounded veterans and families. Face-to-face activity is once again gathering pace now that we can offer more since Covid restrictions have lessened, opening up opportunities to make meaningful connections in the community. We have just moved all our Sport, Activity and Fellowship bookings online, which means participants can now view availability for, and book to attend, face-to-face and online activities across the UK in one place.
The survey is invaluable to us in making sure we use your donations to focus our services on the needs of the people we support, and their loved ones.
We understand that reaching out for support can be difficult. If you are a veteran or loved one and need support, we are here for you.
*2,201 veterans and serving personnel and 339 family members, friends and carers responded to a survey conducted by Help for Heroes from 3rd-18th June 2021 sent to over 15,000 wounded, injured and sick veterans, serving personnel and family members, and open to the wider veteran community via social media channels and partner communications, to understand their support needs.
^Of the 2,540 survey responses, 1,741 were from veterans and serving personnel with self-declared long-term health conditions, defined as those that create an impairment or illness that has a substantial effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities.