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Supporting Op COURAGE

Royal Navy veteran, David Beer, WWTW East of England Manager, reflects on his first 6 months in his new role and the impact his team are having on veterans in the region. 

I joined Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) in March 2022. My employment journey so far has provided me with the crucial skills and knowledge to take on the new role of Regional Manager in the East of England and London. My knowledge and expertise mean that I can meet the needs of WWTW’s beneficiaries, partners, healthcare professionals, my team, and the wider organisation. 

Alongside my professional experience, I am also a veteran, having served in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy (RN). My role in the Armed Forces will always be my proudest moment. It was a positive experience that included extensive travel, sport around the world and a Command Field Gunner on two occasions for Portsmouth. 

The Royal Navy is a team, there is no room for passengers on a War Canoe (Warship).  

After the RN, I spent what felt like a ‘life sentence’ serving Her Majesty within the Criminal Justice System, actively making positive strides with young offenders and adults, primarily within physical education and resettlement. During my 20 years of service, I noticed more veterans with mental health issues were being taken into custody. Supporting these individuals became an area of development, a priority, and a passion. The prison system is not the best place for veterans who are struggling with mental health difficulties.  

More recently, I had a tenure of over six years supporting beneficiaries under the statutory services of the Mental Health Act, Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty, amongst others. I covered the London and West Midlands area. The role gave me a real insight into the complex world of mental health in hospital settings and communities, the NHS and community mental health teams.  

I am now into month four of my new role, working with the NHS Op COURAGE teams, offering high-intensity support to the veteran community. Whilst it is challenging at times, I am incredibly passionate about helping those who served and ensuring they receive the best possible support.  

Most of my previous roles have required an element of case management, however, I am incredibly lucky with my team at WWTW. My colleagues are absolute professionals. They are focused on the beneficiary, their needs and the individual’s journey. Seeing the most underrepresented group within our society receive quality advocacy and empowerment is something special. My employment journey allows me to say that.  

Those that we are currently supporting have very complex needs. Many have experienced traumatic incidents and faced life challenges that are unique to a life of Service. This is something ordinary citizens will not see or experience. The ever-developing partnership with the NHS and other Health Professionals along with Walking With The Wounded staff is something I’m very proud of. It is real, it is empowering, it is client-focused and not without its challenges too.  

Not all of those that we support require high-intensity support. We also support veterans with support care coordination and IPS employment support. Support care coordination is tailored to the veteran’s individual needs. It can help them with many different issues, from housing, navigating relationships with family and friends and loneliness and isolation. It enables the WWTW team to provide targeted veteran support, enabling the beneficiary to have the tools to manage their mental health, increase their self-confidence, know how to access, navigate the bureaucratic processes, and restore trust in services to deliver appropriate support.  

My aim within my role is to reduce the current high levels of veterans needing high-intensity support through improving and raising awareness of access to veteran care support pathways. I will continue to strive for better veteran support services in the East of England and London, ultimately empowering veterans so that they can thrive and contribute to their communities once more.   

Full story from the Walking with the Wounded website (opens in new browser tab)

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