Informal support group for veterans has been set up by Help for Heroes-run Phoenix House

Darlington and Stockton Times: Phoenix House Recovery Centre Phoenix House Recovery Centre

A PEER support group for veterans has been set up at the Help for Heroes-run Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick Garrison.

The Veterans’ Peer Support Group meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month for wounded, injured or sick veterans to share their experiences and talk about any mental health issues they may be facing.

Robin Joss, psychological wellbeing advisor, who started the group, said peer support was a vital form of therapy for helping people recover from mental distress.

She said: “We open the group with a check-in, which allows everyone to know what emotional state they are in on arrival.

“The veterans set the agenda themselves and I leave them to discuss it before coming back for a check-out, to reflect on how they are feeling on leaving and if that is different to when they arrived.”

Ms Joss said the veterans attending the group, which started in January, find it helpful to discuss mental health issues with people who have had similar experiences.

She said: “They may not have been through the same thing but they have an understanding of the culture they are from, because the Armed Forces is a culture in itself.

“Peer support offers a different perspective from talking to mental health professionals.

“There’s very little provision for long-term, open-ended, talking therapy.”

The Veterans’ Peer Support Group is available for anyone struggling to cope with a variety of issues, both physical and mental.

For more information, contact Robin Joss on 01748-834148, extension 2005, or email robin.joss@helpforheroes.org.uk.

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