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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Help for ex-services in prison
Below is a list of organisations who may be able to offer support and advice to former members of the armed forces in prison who are concerned about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and combat stress.

Work carried out by ex-service charities has revealed that a significant proportion of the prison population have served in the Armed Forces. The Home Office does not currently keep record of prisoners' employment details, but work is now underway within the ex-service charity network to identify and address the difficulties that many of this population face in prison and at point of discharge.

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Combat Stress

Who are they?

Combat Stress - The Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society - is a charity supporting British ex-Servicemen and women who have been profoundly traumatised by harrowing experiences during Service life.. The Society was founded in 1919 to provide remedial treatment, care and employment for veterans returning from First World War suffering from "shell-shock" and today continues to provide remedial treatment and care, as well as community-based welfare support to help traumatised ex-Servicemen and women return to normal living.

How can they help?

Combat Stress is currently working through the Veterans Initiative to elevate the problem of ex-Servicemen in the prison population suffering from combat or service related psychological injury. The Society accepts referrals from prison inmates, and Regional Welfare Officers visit them in prison toward the end of their sentence to ensure that help may be provided on their release.

Contact:

Welfare Support Team South: 01372 841680
Welfare Support Team Wales and Midlands: 01952 820335
Welfare Support Team Scotland and Northern England: 01292 560322
Welfare Support Team Ireland: 02890 233894
Email: contactus@combatstress.org.uk

The Royal British Legion

Who are they?

The Legion was founded in 1921, as a voice to support the ex-Service community, but today its welfare work is still under increasing demand. The Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to all those who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces, as well as their dependants. Anyone who has served in the forces for 7 days or more is eligible for help, as well as TA's, Reservists and men and women who served with the Mercantile Marine afloat in hostile waters.

How can they help?

The Legion runs 'Prison in Reach' - a scheme set up to help former services personnel who have or are serving a prison sentence. They can provide financial and emotional support to prisoners and their families, with assistance such as practical advice and guidance on housing and getting a job, education/training (including distance learning) and equipment and/or work tools. Through a national network of caseworkers the Legion and SSAFA Forces Help can assist with resettlement needs, help you whilst you serve your sentence or provide a caring link to the outside.

Contact:

Email: inreach@britishlegion.org.uk
Telephone: 08457 725 725

SAFFA

Who are they?

SSAFA is the Soldiers', Sailors', Airmen and Families Association - a national charity helping serving and ex-Service men, women and their families, including widows and widowers in need. Eligibility for help is one day's paid service in any of HM forces and National Service, and those who completed a period of satisfactory service in the Reserves.

How can they help?

Through a national network of caseworkers the Royal British Legion and SSAFA Forces Help are working together to offer advice and support to ex-service who are still serving sentences, or who are due for release. On resettlement, both can provide financial and emotional support to you and your family, and offer assistance with immediate needs such as household goods and rent, practical advice and guidance on housing and getting a job.

They can also help with education/training, equipment and/or work tools, relocation costs and assistance for partners and children. SSAFA do not give legal advice but can signpost to relevant organisations should you need this type of assistance.

Contact

Website:


Telephone: Welfare Department 020 7463 9227
Email Amanda.p@ssafa.org.uk

Revolving Doors

Who are they?

Revolving Doors Agency is a charity dedicated to improving the lives of people who are caught up in a damaging cycle of crisis, crime and mental illness.

How can they help?

Revolving Doors develop practical schemes based in police stations courts and prisons to help clients with mental health problems gain access to the support they need. They also conduct research and policy work at local and national level and to provide project development support to other agencies.

Contact Telephone: 020 7253 4038
Email: admin@revolving-doors.co.uk

Mental Health Foundation

Who are they?

The MHF is a charity helping people survive, recover from and prevent mental health problems. It conducts research, develops services and training, influences policy and raises public awareness around mental health issues. The MHF have lobbied for the better treatment of soldiers returning from Iraq today. In Feb 2003 they estimated that 10,000 of the 43,000 deployed soldiers could suffer a serious psychological trauma, and in June 2003 produced a briefing paper voicing their concerns, which included an overview of current policy and recommendations for the future.

How can they help?

The MHF have an on-line resource for offenders, ex-offenders, prisoners, or others involved in the criminal justice system. This resource contains details of organisations, websites and publications that people can go to for help and information. They also have an on-line resource about PTSD discussing definition and common treatments, including medication and talking therapies.

Contact

Telephone: 020 7803 1100
Post: Sea Containers House, 20 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9QB

RETHINK

Who are they?

RETHINK are a charity specialising in severe mental illness.

How can they help?

RETHINK offers advice on mental illness and prisons, as well as resources for police and prison officers, prisoners and their families. The Rethink National Advice Service has run a project studying diversion for mentally disordered offenders for several years. Rethink Advice staff and advocates can work to facilitate diversion at various stages from the police station to resettlement. At each stage Rethink may be able to help find an advocate for the suspect and sources of information and support for friends and family.

Contact:

Rethink general enquiries
Telephone: 0845 456 0455
email info@rethink.org

National advice service
Telephone: 020 8974 6814 (open 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday)
E-mail advice@rethink.org

Action for prisoners' families helpline

Who are they?

The Prisoners' Families Helpline is a free and confidential service for anyone who is affected by the imprisonment of a close family member or friend. The Helpline is a consortium of 6 organisations and co-ordinated by Action for Prisoners' Families.

How can they help?

Provides callers with up-to-date information and guidance about prisons in England and Wales, and can link can also link with different services and local support groups in each local area. Also provide information and support.

Contact

Telephone (free helpline): 0808 808 2003

NACRO mental health website

Who are they?

NACRO is the leading criminal justice charity in England and Wales. NACRO's Mental Health Unit aims to improve responses to mentally disordered offenders.

How can they help?

NACRO can provide a coordinated range of development, information and consultancy services to individuals and the various agencies that have dealings with mentally disordered offenders across the criminal justice, health and social care sectors.

Contact

Information and Advice Service: 020 7840 6718
Email: mentalhealth@nacro.org.uk

The Samaritans

Who are they?

Samaritans is available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.

How can they help?

Callers can contact Samaritans by telephone, letter, e-mail and minicom. The commitment to making these means of access available 24 hours a day will be maintained by all branches (except Festival and Correspondence branches). Callers can visit a branch for face-to-face support (except Correspondence branch). Each branch will advertise when they are available for face-to-face support.

Samaritans' aim is to ensure that telephone and minicom callers are not kept waiting for a response and that as many as possible get through first time.

Contact In the UK dial 08457 90 90 90
In the Republic of Ireland dial 1850 60 90 90 ARTICLE LINK: Inside Times Article


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