Factsheet: Veterans

This factsheet is available in a downloadable PDF here. 

Table of Content


Veteran’s Mental Health and Wellbeing


Most people leaving the Armed Services make the transition to civilian living. However, others may need additional help and support to make that transition. 

Veterans and their families may experience problems with:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Debt and finance
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Relationships
  • Social supports
  • Offending behaviour

Veterans are becoming younger and younger every day with the average age of the ex-serviceman or women likely to be in the early to mid-30s. 

In Scotland, official estimates suggest there are 2000 new service leavers settling every year, and approximately one million (20%) of the population is directly or indirectly linked to a veteran. That makes quite a big impact on the social and economic make up of Scotland so looking after veterans is a major priority for the Scottish Government and public sector organisations.

Veteran’s Mental Health and Wellbeing

Veterans may experience a range of mental health problems, including:

  • Depression
  • Anger management issues
  • Stress
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Drugs and alcohol misuse
  • Trouble adjusting to war memories and trauma

Related Services

Below are links to Services in the Edspace database that may be of interest:

External websites related to Veterans

These web sites may be useful. Please note that we are not responsible for external sites; if you find any broken links or inappropriate content please report it to the site administrators using the feedback page.

  • Choose Life

    Choose Life

    In 2002, the Scottish Executive launched Choose Life, a ten year strategy and action plan to reduce suicide in Scotland.

    Choose Life sets out a framework to ensure that action is taken nationally and locally to build skills, develop training, encourage people to seek help early, improve knowledge and awareness of 'what works' to prevent suicide, and to encourage partnership working and improved co-ordination between services.

    What is Choose Life doing in Edinburgh?

    Encouraging and supporting innovative local voluntary agencies, community-based and self-help initiatives which work towards suicide prevention in local neighbourhoods and communities. Choose Life also organises training for staff from a variety of settings such as hospitals and the City of Edinburgh Council as well as voluntary organisations.

    Choose Life funds four projects in Edinburgh; The Edinburgh Self Harm Project and three school based projects in the Oxgangs area, Wester Hailes and Pilton. For more information contact the Choose Life co-ordinator – contact details below.

  • Action on Depression

    Action on Depression (formerly Depression Alliance Scotland) is the only national mental health charity in Scotland working for people affected by depression.


    We provide information and support for anyone with depression and their friends and family and campaign to raise awareness and understanding of depression in Scotland and to improve services for people with depression.

  • Alateen
    Alateen Provides help and advice to teenagers who live with someone with a drink problem Phone: 0141 339 8884 Hours: 24 Hours
  • Samaritans
    Samaritans provides confidential emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide. You don't have to be suicidal to call us. We are here for you if you're worried about something, feel upset or confused, or you just want to talk to someone.
  • Breathing Space
    Breathing Space is a confidential helpline for anyone in Scotland experiencing mental ill  health. It was launched in 2002, and became a national phoneline in 2004. Breathing Space is funded by the Scottish Government's Mental Health Unit. The service is operationally managed by NHS 24 and delivered from NHS 24 contact centres in Clydebank, Cardonald and South Queensferry. Breathing Space is a COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland) recognised counselling skills organisation. 
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
    Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an informal fellowship, founded in 1935. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. The primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
  • NHS24
    NHS24 is an online and telephone based service, offering comprehensive health information to people in Scotland. If you are ill and your usual NHS service / GP is closed, call NHS 24 free on 111. However, if you think someone’s life is in danger and you need an ambulance, always dial 999. When you call NHS 24, you will be asked about your location and your reason for contacting the service. This will be used to direct your call to a suitable health professional, such as a nurse, pharmacist or dental nurse. They will talk to you about your symptoms and tell you what care they think you need. They might suggest that you treat yourself at home, that you see a doctor or another health professional or, in some cases, they might call an ambulance for you.  NHS 24 also provides a number of useful tools to help you manage your health and find health services in your area through the NHS inform website. On the NHS inform website you can access:
    • information on illnesses and conditions, healthy living, tests and treatments and care, support and rights
    • a self-help guide that allows symptoms to be checked against causes and conditions
    • a directory of local health services including pharmacies, GP's and hospitals

Phonelines Related to Veterans

  • Breathing Space

    0800 83 85 87

    A free, confidential phone line you can call when you're feeling down. They also have an excellent website which has loads of information and a self-help toolkit.

  • The Samaritans

    08457 90 90 90

    The Samaritans will not try to give you advice, judge you or tell you what to do, they will just listen and support you. They are there for anyone, especially those who are suicidal or in crisis.

  • No Panic

    0808 808 0545

    No Panic Helps people who suffer from Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and other related anxiety disorders including those people who are trying to give up Tranquillisers. Also provides info in ethnic languages. Phone: 0808 808 0545 Hours: 10-10pm - every day of the year - answer phone thereafter

  • Drinkline

    0800 917 8282

    Drinkline Offers confidential information and advice about drinking and local contacts. Phone: 0800 917 8282 Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-11pm

  • NHS24


    NHS 24, medical helpline

  • Armed Services Advice

    0845 231 0300

    This phone service delivers a free, confidential, impartial advice and information services to: those currently serving in the Armed Forces (either Regular or Reserve), dependants of someone serving in the Armed Forces or a member of the Merchant Navy, or a dependant.

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