Veterans encouraged to download mental health app ahead of Remembrance Day

Welwyn Hatfield Samaritans have launched a mental health app for veterans.

Welwyn Hatfield Samaritans have launched a mental health app for veterans. - Credit: Samaritans

Samaritans in Welwyn Hatfield are inviting military veterans in the area to download the charity’s dedicated new mental health app ahead of this weekend’s Remembrance Sunday.

At the start of the pandemic, nationwide the charity saw calls from the military at their highest level - averaging around 1,000 a month - and four in five of those callers were veterans.

Veteran callers are almost twice as likely to report suicidal thoughts as callers from the general population.

The app follows joint research with the Royal British Legion that highlighted how much support, and the type of support, veterans are seeking.

Branch director Susannah Fenton said: “We’re launching this to coincide with Remembrance Sunday, a time when we remember the sacrifices veterans in Welwyn Hatfield have made and are still making to keep us safe.

“Leaving the military is a really big deal, and veterans the charity has spoken to have told us that they would have benefited from additional support and guidance for their mental wellbeing during this period in their lives. It’s drummed into members of the forces not to share ‘secrets’, and this doesn’t help when they’re navigating life as veterans.”

The app offers emotional health and well-being information, videos, exercises and podcasts, can create wellbeing to-do-lists to help users look after themselves and will connect users with others in the veterans community.

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Navy veteran Liam, 27, who used Samaritans for support when he was struggling with suicidal thoughts, said: “The support resources in the app are great and I like that you can do daily check-ins to help manage your moods. Anything that can help you to get on with the everyday things is so useful when you have just left a familiar routine. I have used Samaritans service in the past and the volunteer I spoke to helped me out of a huge hole.”

The Samaritans Veterans app is available to download from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).

You can support Samaritans in Welwyn Hatfield by texting SHUSH to 70085 to donate £3. Messages cost £3 plus your standard network rate.