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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together
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Veterans for Veterans: About us

As a member of the West Midlands Veterans Mental Health Network, BSMHFT is part of an initiative which supports widening veterans’ care across the region. We aim to be a Trust which provides the best possible care for all of our service users. It is essential that those who have previously served in the military are treated with the care, respect and dignity they deserve, which is why we have developed our ‘Veterans for Veterans' principle.

‘Veterans for Veterans’ supports the idea that staff within our Trust who are veterans, related to veterans or experts in veterans care will be involved in improving veterans mental health. This can be directly by supporting veteran service users with advice, understanding, care and other aspects, or by supporting the Trust in making the right decisions and taking the right actions to help our veterans.

At the heart of our veterans, we have a special interest group consisting of people from a range of departments and military experience all driving to put veterans mental health more widely on the map and striving for improvement. Please see below to find out more about the members of our special interest group:

Carl served 23 years in the Royal Air Force as an Aeronautical Engineer and served multiple tours across diverse locations from the Arctic circle, desert conditions, the South Atlantic and throughout Europe. Carl also had the opportunity to be seconded from the military in to the Defence sector during his time in the RAF. During his time with the forces Carl competed in a number of sports and is proud to still coach military personnel from all three disciplines including those personnel in the Battle Back programme in Skeleton Bobsleighing. After leaving Military service Carl worked in the Defence sector and as a consultant concentrating on Programme and Project management, before settling on a career serving within the NHS where he has worked with Primary Care, Acute services and Mental Health.

Hugh served for 6 years in the Irish Army. Having completed basic training with the infantry, he transferred to the Cavalry, as horse power seemed preferable to shanks’ pony and the glengarry of the cavalry was far more stylish than the beret of the infantry. After two years in the Cavalry he joined the Military Police, where he spent the rest of service as a member of the Special Investigations Branch. For the past 26 years he has worked as a mental health nurse in a variety of roles, across acute, rehabilitation and forensic mental health service. Hugh is now Head of Clinical Risk Management and Veterans Mental Health.

Joanne Gill trained as a Clinical Psychologist and has worked in mental health in the NHS for 25 years. She is presently Consultant Clinical Lead for Birmingham Healthy Minds, a primary care psychological therapies service, and is an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Her interest in veterans stems from her childhood growing up on tales told by her father, who served in the RAF during the Second World War. He was a Pathfinder and a rear gunner in Bomber Command. On his 48th mission, he was shot down and was a POW until the end of the war. His memory remains sharp and he is a regular attender at RAF events, including the unveiling of the Bomber Command memorial in Green Park.

Nicholas joined the NHS working in mental health and has worked closely with a number of Veterans. He took part in the Exercise Army Reserve Challenge at the Nesscliffe Training area in Shrewsbury, during which he experienced the physical demands and a range of military disciplines. He listened to the past experiences from servicemen and women, ranging from privates, JNCO’s to SNCO’s and officers across various Regiments and Corps. Drawing on this experience, Nicholas has been pivotal in supporting and shaping our approach in providing greater support for Veterans.

John spent 5 years in the Royal Navy serving on HMS Boxer and HMS Campbeltown and a number of shore establishments, working within the stores departments. Although John spent only a short period of time in the Navy he does value the experience and the lessons he learnt whilst serving and manages to catch up with old shipmates at the annual Army V Navy rugby game at Twickenham to reminisce. He joined BSMHFT in 1992 and has spent the last 24 years working within the mental health field, both on inpatient units and in the corporate sector. He is passionate about breaking down the stigma of mental health - especially within the veteran community - and has attended many external events promoting support services to both the general public, and ex-forces personal and their families. 

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