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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 07:11 GMT
Mental health scheme for veterans
An armed soldier
The new service aims to help veterans of conflict
A specialist service aimed at treating war veterans suffering from mental health problems is being set up.

Based at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales, it is one of six pilot projects across the UK.

It aims to provide a community mental health service for veterans and provide better links with the NHS.

More than 100,000 has been invested in the two year pilot scheme by the assembly government and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Veterans who live in the NHS trust areas of Cardiff and Vale, Pontypridd and Rhondda and North Glamorgan are expected to benefit from the project.

The service would accessed by veterans who would either approach the service themselves or be referred from a health organisation.

Their needs would be assessed including medical, social and psychological factors and a tailored management plan would be created and facilitated by a therapist.

This will greatly improve the care on offer for our veterans
Health Minister Edwina Hart

The therapist would also act as an ambassador for veterans, establish links with other organisations and act as an advice resource for professionals.

The project also aims to identify why veterans find it difficult to engage with NHS services and what solutions could be put into place to help them.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "I am pleased to be able to fund this project because as well as having responsibility for the health service, I have responsibilities to veterans in Wales - an issue I feel strongly about and take great interest in.

"This pilot project will expand the provision of support and care for service personnel and include further help for veterans who may have experienced mental health problems as a result of military service.

"This will greatly improve the care on offer for our veterans and I look forward to receiving regular updates on this service."

Dr Jonathan Bisson, Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist who will be responsible for the service said: "It will be invaluable to all veterans within our area and raise awareness of the issues affecting them."

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