Updated: Aug 5
As you well know the Veterans Community is in a shambles when it comes to mental health and why there are so many small organisations set up, my own opinions are sorry to say but a lot of the funding from the government is going to the wrong places but that's not what this is about.
We have had the #vetnet in place coming up to 5 years now and thanks to the fantastic team and partner organisation i have behind me we are where we are today because of them so thanks guys, but untill recently and the spawing with an idea from Ray I've modified it all into what we are now calling Code Red, (please watch the you tube video if you havnt already. https://youtu.be/taDlDCLWqA8
The Aim of this operation is to have a neutral platform (which the vetnet already is) to act as a central message board for anything to do with crisis within the veteran community. The whole website is fully interactive and comes with a free App for the groups and a messenger service but it also comes with a worldwide veteran support map.
There are numerous groups on there that we have set up already to do with the buddy teams but there is nothing stopping you from setting up your own group.
One of the private groups on there is purely just for counsellors and others that are qualified in mental health, it's a place we set up for another councilor from France. It's where you can work together and discuss treatments and ideas, working out what works best. The best thing about it is there is no egos or restrictions you run your group the way you want to.
The code red buttons, that are already in place and at the moment all temporally linked to our own 24 hour crisis line and panic board as I'll call it.
Over time hopefully each code red button will then be linked to a similar crisis teams phone line and set up within every county, whether its adapting one that you already operate to best suit your current set up or as a prime example where Ray will be putting this all into place using his own fb group S.A.V.E., this will include 2 teams of buddy's, a mirror image of our own setup at the minute, the main thing is we are all singing from the same song sheet, not just the same book.
We will be test proofing this as a prototype first in the West Midlands Region first. https://www.families4veterans-directory.com/west-midlands-network. Hoping at the same time word will start reaching out to other organisations about this and are willing to work together and cover their own post codes using the same method, if you look at each county and the support map you will see how much support organisations are already setup within each region and county and where the gaps are. How many of you know whats already in your area to reach out to or how to contact each other.
The Buddy system as I mentioned above would comprise of 2 teams. The first Buddies, who are already a part of our Crisis team and each one must become fully qualified in mental health up to level 2 as a minimum standard before joining, Craig Waters and Louise Lane are the people who run this and can be contacted direct from our website or social media profiles.
The Buddy's job is to operate the phone lines and act as our direct Buddy's for the 1-2 weekly check ins depending on what's needed. Craig Waters or Louise Lane can explain the whole setup as they are the ones who came up with the whole concept.
The other Buddy teams which we are looking for and that would play a major part in all of this is those Veterans, Family Members who dont have a lot of time but are active on social media platforms, who might not want to apply for any of the free mental health courses that we can supply, but would prefer to act more as eyes and ears of the whole community and at the same time building up the network simply by making their mates aware about it.
I myself spend most of my time on fb. The reason for this and how the vetnet was formed was because we kept on seeing the same posts on the 100s of veteran groups and pages that we follow and each reply to the post had 100s of different referrals often without any links or phone numbers. Now if you're the person asking for help would you know which button to press hoping that they operate a 24 hour crisis line and hopefully also within the same county as yourself.
The only way I know how to see any of these posts is by joining hundreds of groups trying to see crys for help and asking where to find things, by the time you get to see the same post on the 10th group, inbetween all the adverts fb kindly offer to me, its often changed wording, headings even the link it was originally posted from has been changed because you can't share from a private group and the last thing you want to try and do now is share anything as its classed as spam. Using the system of the #vetnet you only need to post once and because its a neutral platform this can then be shared onto any social media platform, any updates can also be seen and shared which means things can happen faster.
Now by using group members, social media users on twitter, on Instagram or any other platform to act as eyes and ears you are then almost covering every part of the UK. We already have the same set up ready to go in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia(50%), South Africa and the rest of the world.
As I said this will be a six month trial period concentrating on getting the west Midlands 100% up and running first. Should this work and we have everything in place for phase 2 then all we need to do then is mirror image the vetnet and update it and use for the civilian network and so relieving the NHS of some pressure, which is where the idea of rays came from.
The sooner this concept is picked up by the right people in the right places you would soon have a complete network worldwide of any veteran organisation of those that know the system, how it works and can get the job done, over time the best organisations would be the ones that are always 100% reliable and the first things you see, hence the directory.
My background is 12 years Army in the RCT never RLC and managed to get to the high rank of Lance/Comical. Ive not got any fancy letters behind my name or awards and I'm not one for making all these big social media live feeds and to be honest I hate doing anything public, one of the reasons I still havnt turned up to my local breakfast club since moving here. So you can imagine now how hard it is to get this concept to the right influential people who understand it and can see its full potential, when you now understand who I am.
The whole website is fully funded by myself and the very few donations that we recieve, hence no spare funding for big advertising campaigns or press releases, every extra penny spare goes into our veterans shield fund which is then used on immediate hardship issues. (Please read the CSCSA that you can find under the hub listing)
If you've managed to read to the end and watched the video thankyou and it means I've sparked an interest in you and you would like to know more.
Everything I've written above is what we are offering as a free service to the Veteran, front line, emergency services community and not asking for anything in return but if you could offer any sort of support in which ever way you can, call it a favour for a favour, then we are more than happy to start working together, learning from each other and making it a community to be proud of.
Looking forward to your reply Gaz