Veterans First Point opens at Poppyscotland Inverness

20th May 2016 Fraser Bedwell

Veterans First Point Highland, a mental health service for veterans, was officially launched today at Poppyscotland Inverness.

The service is new to the Highlands and is the result of an initiative between Poppyscotland, NHS Highland and Veterans First Point Scotland. Based on the successful model established in the Lothians, Veterans First Point Highland joins a network of eight regional services across Scotland and will be situated in Poppyscotland’s Strothers Lane centre, offering a Find out more range of mental health support, information and signposting.

The team is comprised of a project lead, psychological therapist and two veteran peer support workers, who will work alongside the existing Poppyscotland team. The peer support element is a critical component – these individuals are ex-Servicemen and women who understand the unique nature of military life and the difficulties that can arise as a result. They will be the first point of contact for veterans accessing Veterans First Point and will guide them through the support, helping to identify additional health and wellbeing opportunities.

Poppyscotland, which opened its doors in Inverness three years ago, is a vital source of information, advice and support. The charity believes that this new partnership will be hugely beneficial for veterans.

Mark Bibbey, Poppyscotland’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome Veterans First Point to Inverness. I am confident that by working together and learning from each other the service will go from strength to strength, resulting in an enhanced and holistic welfare offering to those in our Armed Forces community who are in need of support.”

David Alston, chair of NHS Highland said: “I am delighted to see the Highland project for veterans developing such a strong partnership, bringing skills together for veterans. This is integration in practice and we look forward to seeing this project grow from strength to strength.”

Peer support worker Kim Haines said: “I am delighted that this service has come to the Highlands and that I am able to play a part in it. It is such a worthy cause and I think the fact that it‘s veterans talking to veterans will be helpful in building relationships and overcoming barriers to gain the best possible outcome for individuals.”

The launch, which took place during Mental Health Awareness Week, was attended by Eric Fraser, Scotland’s Veterans’ Commissioner, partner organisations and supporters.

People wishing to access Poppyscotland or Veterans First Point can do so by visiting the centre at Strothers Lane, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, or by calling 01463 710300.

Find out more about Poppyscotland Inverness here

Find out more about Veterans First Point here