Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is launching a new forum to support women who are serving or have served as reservists or in the British Armed Forces.
The online forum will give women and their allies the chance to share experiences and explore types of support which may be beneficial for those leaving the military. It is open to any veteran who has used mental health services, as well as members of NSFT staff.
The aim is to provide space to talk about mental health and wellbeing while also sharing common themes so that service women and veterans can work together to grow a supportive community.
The forum is being set up by Michelle Firmin, Senior Armed Forces and Veterans Practitioner, who became aware of the specific difficulties many women face when transitioning to civilian life while she worked for the Ministry of Defence.
“We hope to explore some specific areas that adjustment to civilian life can bring up,” said Michelle, who works in NSFT’s Veterans Integrated Service. “This may include concerns about women’s health, fertility, childcare and getting older, for example.
“We also want to acknowledge the high levels of anxiety which may be triggered by transitioning out of the military, which can be caused by finding new employment, meeting like-minded people, being part of community and making new friends.
“We want to live up to the Trust values and work collaboratively, positively and respectfully with women and their allies to identify what they feel their needs are so that we can make sure the forum will truly support them in the most effective way.”
Initially the group will get together online, with the frequency and duration of meetings decided by members. If the forum is a success, it will aim to begin attending events across Norfolk and Suffolk.
The first meeting takes place on Wednesday 16 November between 12noon and 1pm. Anyone who is interested in joining the forum or finding out more should email firstname.lastname@example.org