Op COURAGE Services are accessible for all people.
The Armed Forces Network provide helpful resources designed to support the Gurkha and Nepalese Community, including a healthcare toolkit with the primary aim to facilitate better understanding and access to the necessary health and wellbeing support for the Gurkha/Nepalese community.
It is highlighted that one prominent issue is the limited awareness within the Nepali community regarding the functioning of the UK's health and social care systems. Consequently, many Nepali individuals are not utilising essential healthcare services, including GP consultations, and other crucial support services. Therefore, it becomes imperative to raise awareness among the Nepali communities about the various available health services.
Moreover, there is a significant emphasis on ensuring that frontline staff are well-informed about the specific needs of the Gurkha/Nepalese community. This awareness is essential to eliminate any cultural barriers that might currently be preventing these individuals from receiving the necessary assistance. By encouraging understanding and cultural sensitivity, the aim is that Gurkha/Nepalese individuals can receive the necessary care and support they deserve.
For referrals and Nepali language information, visit our Gurkha Veteran Community section.
Over the years, the role of women in the Armed Forces has undergone a significant transformation. Since October 2018, female members of the Armed Forces are allowed to serve in all combat roles alongside their male counterparts.
As of 1 April 2023, there has been a notable increase in the percentage of women serving in the UK's Regular Forces, reaching 11.5%. This has increased by 0.2 percentage points compared with 1 April 2022 (11.3%). The numbers have also risen in the Reserve Forces, with women comprising 15.9% of the total, compared with 15.6% in April 2022. This increase reflects a positive trend, with the proportion of women in the UK Regulars steadily rising over the past three decades. For instance, in 1990, women accounted for about 6% of the total UK Regular Forces, and by 2000, this proportion had risen to approximately 8%.
To further promote gender equality and inclusion within the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set a target of having 30% of the UK's Armed Forces comprised of women by the year 2030.
It's essential to recognise that the needs of female veterans may differ from their male counterparts. However, some female veterans may not access the support services available due to the perception that these services are male-oriented and may not adequately consider the specific challenges and experiences faced by female veterans.
The Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service London proudly supports female veterans and encourages the inclusion of ex-service women. The increasing representation of women in the Armed Forces is a positive development, and efforts are being made to improve the support and services available to female veterans. The MoD's target of reaching 30% female representation by 2030 demonstrates the commitment to promoting gender diversity and inclusivity within the military. It is crucial to continue fostering an environment that addresses the unique needs of female veterans and provides them with the support they deserve.
OpCourage London values and acknowledges the achievements and service of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, asexual and other sexuality and gender diverse veterans. As a service, we recognise the importance of delivering care in a manner that is respectful, dignified and compassionate, and is inclusive to people and communities that have been marginalised and faced discrimination.
It is important to acknowledge the discrimination faced by the LGBT+ armed forces community. From 1967 until 2000, the UK Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence enforced a ban on LGBT+ service personnel. In July 2023, the UK Government published Lord Etherton's Review into the experiences of LGBT+ veterans who served during the ban on LGBT+ service personnel. The landmark review details the pain, distress, and trauma that LGBT+ service personnel and those perceived to be LGBT+ endured, including horrific sexual and physical abuse, homophobic bullying, abusive investigations and medical procedures, forced treatment, including conversion therapy, and dismissal following court martial or administrative discharge. The review acknowledges the long-term impact of the ban on affected veterans, their families and loved ones and the wider community. Following the Etherton Review’s publication the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued an apology to those affected by the ban and described the policies at the time as an “appalling failure of the British state”. Read the OpCourage response to the Independent Review [pdf] 232KB
The LGBT+ community continue to endure discrimination and prejudice, and whilst there has been progress since the lifting on the ban, there is still some way to go to reach a position of equality. OpCourage London are committed to providing care to veterans which is understanding, compassionate and confirming of their sexuality and gender identities. We aim to support LGBT+ veterans to be their authentic selves and live their lives to the fullest. To do this, OpCourage London is working to reduce some of the barriers which LGBT+ individuals can face when seeking support. OpCourage London is here to help LGBT+ veterans who may need guidance, support and treatment, and we acknowledge the psychological impact of the distressing and disturbing experiences endured by LGBT+ veterans serving in the British Armed Forces, both before, during and after the ban. OpCourage London works with and supports people struggling with the impact of both combat and non-combat related mental health issues and psychological needs. OpCourage London also works closely alongside Fighting with Pride , the LGBT+ military charity, who supports the health and wellbeing of LGBT+ veterans, service personnel and their families. Fighting with Pride also offer advice and support regarding the unfolding reparations packages and procedures published by Government in response to the Etherton Review. OpCourage London is proud to be accredited with the Pride in Veterans Standard (PiVS), which guides our commitment to inclusivity for the LGBT+ veteran community.
Those who have left Service within the first four years are welcome to refer. We recognise the difficulties that can be connected with being an Early Service Leaver. These can be related to pre-Service social and educational issues, leaving untrained and sometimes having reduced access to transition support.