Guidance

Urgent help for veterans

Veterans needing urgent help in a crisis can contact us or the following organisations for assistance.

If you are in danger or immediate risk, ring 999

If you’re not in need of immediate assistance, and you need to talk to someone, there are several organisations that can help you. They are available day and night to provide free, confidential advice and support. If you’re a family member worried about the mental health of a loved one, or need to talk to someone yourself, these organisations can help you too.

Please note there are changes to our services in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please see Coronavirus – Changes to Veterans UK Services

Medical assistance (NHS)

Medical assistance for veterans in:

Veterans Welfare Service

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS), is part of Veterans UK and provides one-to-one support to veterans via a national network of welfare managers across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Phone or email the Veterans UK helpline and ask for the Welfare Service.

Veterans UK helpline

Freephone (UK only): 0808 1914 2 18
Telephone (overseas): +44 1253 866 043
Email: veterans-uk@mod.gov.uk
Normal service 8.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday

When the helpline is closed, callers will be given the option to be re-routed to The Samaritans 24 hour helpline.

Help and support for service leavers and their families

Defence Transition Services (DTS) is run by Veterans UK. It exists to provide information and support for those service leavers and their families who are most likely to face challenges as they leave the armed forces and adjust to civilian life.

Other organisations who may be able to provide advice and support

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. Call us on 0800 138 1619, text us on 07537 404 719 or email helpline@combatstress.org.uk.

The Veterans’ Gateway is for any ex-service personnel and their families looking for advice or support – whatever they’re dealing with. They provide the first point of contact to a network of military and non-military partner organisations to help you find exactly what you need, when you need it - whether you’re in the UK or overseas. For 24-hour support go to Veterans’ Gateway or call 0808 802 1212.

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.

The Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo) represents the whole serving and veterans community and promotes the welfare and general interests of the armed forces community. 

Published 18 February 2020
Last updated 31 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added a note relating to changes to services.

  2. First published.