Armed Forces - Health and Wellbeing

We can help people in the armed forces community access health and social care services across Dorset (including Bournemouth and Poole).

Our Armed Forces Community Health and Wellbeing Team (AFCT) can help to assess your needs and, if appropriate, liaise with local organisations to ensure you receive support with issues such as health, welfare, housing and employment.

The armed forces community includes:

  • active army, navy and air force personnel
  • veterans
  • reservists
  • family members
  • bereaved family members.

You can contact the team directly, or access the service through your GP or other health/social care professional.

We will offer an initial meeting with you and/or your loved one to establish the kind of help you require. If you have specific health needs (including mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder or addiction), we can also arrange a meeting with a specialist clinician and put you in touch with local support groups.

We are a Veteran Aware Trust. The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VC HA), acknowledges our commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, active members of the armed forces and their families. Read more.


Current service update: offering video and telephone support, and face-to-face when required.



Op Community provides sympathetic, confidential, and practical support to families of serving personnel, reservists, veterans, and carers living in Dorset to improve and promote physical and mental wellbeing.

How does Op Community help?Op COMMUNITY_logo_CMYK.png

A families welfare officer (FWSO) is on hand to support and advocate for individuals to ensure they receive appropriate advice and guidance when navigating the NHS landscape, local authority departments or other support agencies.

The FWSO can help with:

  • finding solutions by working alongside other organisations which may include supporting referrals to specialist charities or departments to support with debt, housing, employment, benefits etc
  • advise on Veteran friendly GP practices within the local area
  • providing advice, guidance and support on how to use the NHS to get support
  • directing specific queries to experts within the local NHS
  • working and liaising with other organisations to help facilitate transfers of care from one healthcare provider to another for those transferring into the area
  • to ensure places on NHS waiting lists are not lost after moving to a new area
  • support with signposting or referrals to support in the community, in order to improve health and wellbeing
  • linking with other Armed Forces specific services and support.

The FWSO also aims to assist those transitioning and leaving the service by providing a mentoring approach to support families into civilian life within Dorset. Spouses that plan to marry those in military service are also supported.

How do I access support?

The FWSO operates within the armed forces community health and wellbeing team (AFCT) - part of Dorset Healthcare.

The FWSO can be contacted directly as below or via referrals from a health, social care or third sector team.

Families Welfare Support Officer

Armed Forces Community Health and Wellbeing Team

Hahnemann House, Hahnemann Road

Bournemouth BH2 5JW


Tel: 01202 584428

Mob: 07787 287581

Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.


If you are a veteran and experiencing a mental health crisis, you can be referred to Op COURAGE in the South West of England. 

It’s an NHS service supported by trained professionals who areOpCourage_Device_RGB[1].png from, or have experience of working with, the armed forces community. 

The service can help if you’re finding life difficult after leaving the military. Working together with armed forces charities, Op COURAGE will help you get the right type of specialist care, support and treatment for your specific needs.

We are in it together.

Find out more.

HeadFit for Life - online support

A new platform called 'HeadFIT for Life' has been launched with online tools to help defence personnel to take a more proactive approach to their mental health and mental fitness.

What is HeadFIT and who is it for?

  • HeadFIT has been developed in partnership with The Royal Foundation's Heads Together campaign, the Ministry of Defence and King's College London
  • HeadFIT is a new online platform, which will provide the military with 24/7 access to self-help tools to help them manage the stresses of everyday life
  • The platform includes tools such as breathing exercises, body posture and relaxation techniques that have been designed for all defence personnel, whether they are new recruits, long-serving personnel, veterans, civilian staff or those in uniform. The techniques are designed so they can be easily integrated into their everyday lives.

Visit the website here for more information.

You can also read more here about the new service being launched by the Duke of Sussex on behalf of the MOD.



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Mental Health and learning disabilities