About the Armed Forces Network

The Armed Forces Network was launched on 2 April 2013 in response to the need for specialist mental health services for ex-military personnel in Kent and Medway. The project is led by Counselling Team Ltd, working with Rethink.  It is funded by NHS Kent and Medway.

 What will the network do?

  • Establish peer and clinical support networks for ex-military personnel

  • Develop, for approval by relevant agencies, a mental health care pathway for ex-military personnel based on existing service provision

 Project Partners

  • Counselling Team Ltd is a Kent based provider of primary care psychological therapies (IAPT) based in Folkestone.  Counselling Team Ltd has been officially recognised for its work with ex-service personnel.

    Counselling Team Ltd will act as the lead agency and will be responsible for co-ordinating the activities of all three agencies for this project.

    Belinda Simpson, Managing Director, will be the Project Lead and Veterans Co-ordinator for Kent and Medway to maintain continuity and consistency in a collaborative relationship with other organisations.
  • CRI and Turning Point, as the lead substance abuse agencies for Kent, are part of the Armed Forces Nework project working group
  • Rethink Mental Illness is a registered charity and provider of a range of support services for people suffering from mental illness.  This project outline is based in part on a scoping exercise undertaken by Rethink.  Kelly Tonks, Community Development Worker, is Rethink’s representative on the project team.

What are the aims of the Project?

  • Establish a process for providing training and supervision for these roles in military mind-set, culture, wider determinants of mental illness and information necessary for signposting ex-military personnel.
  • Map out all existing formal and informal peer and clinical support resources across Kent and Medway and develop a reference guide for the network and primary care services, IAPT services and secondary mental health services in order to improve signposting of ex-military personnel to appropriate support services / agencies.
  • Establish an ex-military personnel mental health forum or a means of engaging ex-military personnel in the design, provision and monitoring of mental health services.
  • Develop and sustain a clear and explicit care pathway and protocols for ex-military personnel into and out of mental health services, for approval by relevant agencies.
  • Carry out a review of data recording and reporting in mental health services with recommendations to ensure availability of accurate validated data and evidence of (unmet) need relating to ex-military personnel for commissioners.
  • Explore and report on options for the establishment of a formal (funded) Military Mental Health Network and Military Mental Health Website in Kent and Medway in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and partners.
  • Through the peer and clinical support network, improve awareness of the mental health needs of ex-military personnel in primary care through the development and provision of awareness training to GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups.
  • Through the peer and clinical support network, identify and train Forces Champions in a diverse range of organisations, including the DWP and social care services.
  • Through the peer and clinical support network, improve signposting to mental health services within formal and informal support networks for ex-military personnel.
  • Develop robust links with the military and third sector charities to facilitate early identification and intervention of mental health services for ex-military personnel.


If you would like to help promote or join the Armed Forces Network, contact Heather Wells Heather.Wells@counsellingteam.com or Jenny Chesney info@armedforcesnetwork.org
at Counselling Team or call 01303 856499 for more information.