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 free, confidential phone-line aimed primarily at young men (aged 16-40) who are experiencing low mood or depression, and for those who are unusually worried and in need of someone to talk to.  Although Breathing Space targets young men it is open for anyone in Scotland to use.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous

    What is AA?

      Fact File Logo   Defining "Alcoholics Anonymous"   Following is the definition of A.A. appearing in the Fellowship's basic literature and cited frequently at meetings of A.A. groups:
    Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

    The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

    Copyright © by the A.A. Grapevine, Inc.; reprinted with permission.
    Alcoholics Anonymous can also be defined as an informal society of more than 2,000,000 recovered alcoholics in the United States, Canada, and other countries. These men and women meet in local groups, which range in size from a handful in some localities to many hundreds in larger communities.
  • NHS24

    NHS24 is an out of hours service providing comprehensive health information. 

    You can call the NHS 24 helpline if you are feeling ill and your GP surgery is closed. You can call NHS 24 on 111, free. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

    You can also get health information online, at www.nhs24.com Online information includes details abotu local services as well as self care information. 

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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