Healthcare support for veterans

Some veterans can develop mental health conditions as a result of their service in the armed forces. This may include conditions like:

Some people do not get symptoms of a mental health condition until after they leave the armed forces.

The culture of the Armed Forces may put you off getting help but, these conditions are treatable. Many people recover or learn to manage their condition.

Mental health support

NHS Scotland and the wider veterans community provides a range of care and support. This includes dedicated mental health services. These offer different treatments and advice if you’re experiencing mental health conditions.

You should contact your GP practice first to access NHS care. You can discuss any issue with them. They can also arrange referral to specialist services if necessary.

There are a range of other services, including out-of-hours support.

Find your nearest GP practice

Combat Stress

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health and provides support to veterans from every service.

It offers treatment and support for mental health issues to veterans across Scotland. It also has a free and confidential 24 hour helpline (0800 138 1619) to talk about mental health. Family members and carers can use this too.

Further information on Combat Stress

Veterans First Point

Veterans First Point drop-in services were developed by veterans for veterans. They are available in:

  • Ayrshire and Arran
  • Borders
  • Fife
  • Lanarkshire
  • Lothian
  • Tayside

These offer a ‘one stop shop’ for help and assistance to veterans, and their families, no matter what that need might be. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • physical or mental health issues
  • housing
  • socialising
  • education
  • employment

Further information on Veterans First Point

Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a free and confidential phone line.

Phone 0800 83 85 87 (6pm to 2am, weekdays and 24 hours at the weekend). Phone calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

Breathing Space is aimed at people experiencing low mood or depression. It provides a safe and supportive space by listening, offering advice and information.

Further information on Breathing Space


Samaritans offers a safe place for you to talk any time, in your own way. You can discuss whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal to phone Samaritans.

Phone Samaritans on 116 123. You can phone for free and from any phone.

Further information on Samaritans


Bravehound provide companion dogs to veterans. They then provide support for both the dog and veteran over the dogs’ life.

Bravehound aim to support a smooth transition back into civilian life. This can help ex-service personnel adjust to living with the visible and invisible wounds of war.

Further information on Bravehound

Other mental health resources

Physical health

Some veterans may have physical injuries as a result of their service in the armed forces. These injuries can impact their physical health as a civilian.

Physical injuries that are the result of service will be treated by the NHS. People will either recover fully or learn to manage their condition to live healthy and productive lives.

Amputation and prosthetics

Injuries sustained during service with the armed forces can be complex and severe. They may need limb amputation.

The National Prosthetics Service (NPS) designs and fits prosthetic limbs in Scotland.

If you’ve lost a limb during service and were not fitted with a prosthetic at that time, you should discuss this with your GP. They may be able to refer to the NPS.

Further information on amputation

Sight Scotland Veterans

Sight Scotland Veterans support veterans who have developed sight loss or who are sight impaired. The sight loss or impairment doesn’t need to be as a result of their time in the forces.

You can phone Sight Scotland Veterans on 0800 035 6409.

Sight Scotland Veterans offer free services to help veterans re-learn vital life skills. They also offer social and recreational opportunities.

Further information on Sight Scotland Veterans


Blesma offers support to limbless veterans throughout different stages of their lives. They offer financial, well-being and emotional support to veterans and their families.

Phone Blesma on 020 8590 1124, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Further information on Blesma

Further information

Get information on:

Last updated:
20 October 2023

Also on NHS inform