MNF Grant Awarded to Combat Stress

The Merchant Navy Fund, which is a collaborative initiative between Seafarers UK and the MNWB has awarded Combat Stress with £25,000. The grant means Merchant Navy Seafarers and Fishermen veterans will be provided with a range of mental health services addressing the needs of each individual. These services include

  • A 24 hour confidential help and advice helpline for veterans, former seafarers, serving personnel and families. The helpline can be contacted via phone, text or email.
  • A community mental health service which has 14 community teams who provide treatment and support across the country. Each team consists of a community psychiatric nurse, an occupational therapist, a peer support worker and some
    teams include a substance misuse practitioner. These teams offer both individual and group sessions at venues around the country or over the phone.
  • Specialist treatment centres in Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey provide a six-week PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme and an Anger Management Programme. These programmes have both group and individual therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, psycho-education, occupational therapy and art therapy.

The reason for the grant is due to Combat Stress having a small but significant number of MN seafarers with trauma-related mental health approaching the charity for support which the grant will be able to support.

Combat Stress match the appropriate interventions with an individual’s current level of wellness which means those who require the most care will receive a more intensive intervention then those individuals who may still require support but to a lesser extent. They will address these needs through their treatment strategy which is;

  • Initial preparation: helps ensure beneficiaries’ engagement into treatment services, including addressing welfare needs by collaboratively working with other third sector organisations where necessary, including military charities.
  • Building coping skills: with appropriate clinical assessment, medication advice and, if required, access to psycho-education and skills-training groups.
  • Trauma-focused therapy: helps individuals to process their trauma memories and develop skills to cope with trauma triggers.
  • Building for the future: helps individuals reconnect with their lives, helping them to work on other life issues such as improving their relationships or engaging in leisure activities, and seeking opportunities in their local community for increased participation. This is followed by relapse prevention and maintenance.

Combat Stress stated: ‘Each treatment pathway we provide to every individual is unique and depends on their diagnosis and needs; therefore it is difficult to anticipate the total cost of providing treatment ahead of time. Over the last grant period, we spent in excess of £70,000 on providing trauma-related mental health treatment to Merchant Navy seafarers. This included assessment and treatment for 11 individuals and support for a further 16 individuals via our Helpline. We can therefore use this as a benchmark for the next twelve months’.

Combat Stress differs from most small armed forces mental health charities because 50% of their employees are qualified clinicians including psychiatrists, psychologists, cognitive behavioural psychotherapists, occupational therapists and registered mental health nurses. These staff are formally registered and accredited to work to professional standards.

For more about Combat Stress see: https://www.combatstress.org.uk/

To learn more about the Merchant Navy Fund who provide grants to organisations that support Merchant Navy Seafarers and their dependents see: https://www.merchantnavyfund.org/about-the-fund/