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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/urgent-help-for-veterans-in-a-crisis/urgent-help-for-veterans-in-a-crisis
Veterans needing urgent help in a crisis can contact the following organisations for assistance:
1. Veterans UK helpline
The Ministry of Defence’s Veterans UK helpline provides assistance on many issues including benefits, housing and welfare.
Veterans UK helpline
Ministry of Defence
Freephone (UK only): 0808 1914 2 18
Telephone (overseas): +44 1253 866 043
Normal Service 8.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday
When the helpline is closed, callers will be given the option to be routed to Combat Stress or The Samaritans 24hr helpline.
2. Veterans Welfare Service
The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS), part of Veterans UK, provides one to one support to veterans via a national network of welfare managers across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Contact VWS or call the Veterans UK helpline.
3. Partner organisations
Veterans UK also works in partnership with the Department of Health/NHS, The Royal British Legion, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) and Combat Stress to provide support for veterans. Some of these helplines can be contacted outside of office hours or when the Veterans UK helpline is closed.
3.1 Medical Assistance (NHS)
- for veterans in England: NHS 111 service - NHS Choices. Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency.
- for veterans in Scotland: NHS 24 or call 111
- for veterans in Wales: NHS Direct Wales or call 0845 46 47
- for veterans in Northern Ireland: Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland. Telephone contact details are available from the website
3.2 The Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion (TRBL) provides a comprehensive online knowledge base aimed at all members of the armed forces past and present and their families. The knowledge base is an extensive resource providing information and advice to help you understand and access the different types of support that you or your family may need.
TRBL helpline: 0808 802 8080
Opening hours: 8:00am to 8:00pm, 7 days a week, free of charge from landlines and most mobiles.
SSAFA provides lifelong support to those who are serving or who have ever served in the British Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force, and their families.
We offer practical, emotional and financial support to meet individual needs through our network of trained volunteers and professional staff and are based in the local community so help is always close by when it is needed.
Forcesline: 0800 731 4880, free of charge on landlines and most mobiles.
Opening hours: 9:00am to 5:30pm, weekdays.
3.4 Combat Stress
Is the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans offering free treatment and support to ex-servicemen and women of the UK Armed Forces.
Our 24 hour free and confidential Helpline is here for veterans and serving military personnel, and their families. Call us on 0800 138 1619, text us on 07537 404 719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Standard charges may apply for texts, please check with your provider.)
3.5 Big White Wall
Big White Wall offers online mental wellbeing support 24/7 where you can share your concerns with others who feel like you. It’s safe, anonymous and has Wall Guides (counsellors) available 24/7. This service is free to veterans.