SSAFA - Grant awarded October 2018

SSAFA Mentoring supports Wounded, Injured or Sick (WIS) service personnel who are medically discharged to make a successful transition to civilian life.

This is achieved by pairing a service leaver with a dedicated, trained volunteer mentor for up to one year and this early contact helps to combat common transition complications like depression and social isolation. 

Mentors motivate mentees to achieve their goals and help them build confidence, independence and resilience that eases them into civilian life.  

The Veterans’ Lottery grant has allowed the charity to recruit and train more volunteer mentors. 

It’s also provided supervision support from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and have also expanded the support available to mentors, including an active online mentoring discussion forum that allows mentors to talk to one another in a peer support system. 

The increased numbers of mentors recruited and trained have allowed improvements to the service by reducing the time taken for relationships to be assigned. 

This has helped the charity mentor more people and provide them with vital support through the challenging process of transition to civilian life.  

RAF officer Simon was medically discharged following 16 years of service. 

He has found the transition to civilian life difficult but, with the support of his SSAFA mentor, Rob, he is gradually finding his feet. 

“I feel ashamed of how difficult I found the transition, said Simon. 

“Being discharged with mental health conditions arising from service and having lost the only job I thought I’d ever have, I didn’t have the ability to get and maintain another job. 

“I felt paralysed by fear about my future and was unable to do the things I needed to do to transition. When I first met my mentor, Rob, I could barely speak or concentrate due to the panic attacks and anxiety I was experiencing. 

“Just discussing all the things I’m worried about, and getting them out in the open, makes them easier to cope with. 

"Quite often Rob will say something at one of our sessions and I will find that guides what I do during the week. He has helped me take one step at a time. 

"Rob just ‘gets it’. As a veteran himself he’s been in difficult situations in both his military and civilian careers, so he knows what he’s talking about. 

"Just knowing that someone actually values what I did for the country enough to give up their own time and meet me every week makes the situation, and what it has cost me, easier to bear.”