NHS Military Veterans’ Service ready for online ACTion

Headsted, a pioneering Anglo-Finnish start-up company that Care IQ is supporting with its Launch IQ approach, has launched three innovative online psychological therapy programmes with the NHS Military Veterans’ Service for Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), these interventions will enhance and complement the support provided to ex-service personnel. The three programmes are:

  • Hold Your Nerve – a seven week intervention to manage anxiety
  • Value Your Self – a six week intervention to manage low mood
  • Shift Your Stress – a five week intervention to cope with workplace stress.

The Military Veterans’ Service, hosted by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, has been offering ACT on a face-to-face basis to its clients for some time. The introduction of the ACT online packages will now further enable client choice and improved accessibility. In particular, it recognizes that a section of clients prefer to engage with care services on a remote basis.

Dr Kirsikka Kaipainen, Headsted’s CEO, commented: “We are very excited to give our backing to this excellent service reaching out and supporting Military Veterans with our online programmes. ACT is a robust alternative to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and helps people to manage their difficult thoughts, feelings and memories, to enable them to enjoy living their life according to their own values”.

The Service provides mental health support to ex-service personnel for conditions including depression, alcohol and substance misuse, anger problems and post-traumatic stress disorder. The expert team of psychological therapists and case managers is overseen by Dr Alan Barrett, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist.

Dr Barratt, Clinical Lead for the service, stated “We are delighted to be able to offer this service to our clients. In giving clients increased treatment choice, it helps us to continue to provide a high quality service and to be at the forefront of providing psychological interventions to veterans”.

A client from the Military Veterans Service who has received ACT from Dr Hannah Taylor, Clinical Psychologist, is keen to promote the benefits of ACT to other veterans. When asked about his experience of receiving ACT he stated: “My therapist showed me how to channel my thoughts, not to get rid of them, but to know that they are there but they do not control my life. I control my life, and my past has happened; even though my thoughts were destructive you can have them there, without ruling my every day activities. If you have had trauma and still suffer from the after effects, I advise you to try ACT, take it seriously and you will soon see a difference in your every day life”.

This ground-breaking service development indicates the ambition of psychological services for military veterans to further improve access, meaningful engagement, and support and treatment for those in need. The Headsted programmes mark a significant step forward in gaining the widest possible coverage. There are undoubtedly veterans that may benefit from support but do not currently access services. The flexibility provided by the online programmes, dovetailing with existing assessment and treatment practices, enables a more comprehensive promotion of positive psychological wellbeing.

Koen Smets, one of the Care IQ partners who has been working with Headsted since the beginning, remarked, “This latest success illustrates the power of Launch IQ’s nurturing structure. By focusing their creativity and ambition on the right clients and markets, we help innovative SMEs to realize their potential in health economies across the world.