A £500,000 pilot initiative to take foward improved mental healthcare for veterans has been announced.
NHS Lothian will trial the new approach to community-based mental health services, which will be specifically designed to improve the care, support and recovery available to veterans with mental health needs.
This follows the recent guidelines given by the Scottish Government to all health boards in Scotland that all veterans with mental health needs resulting from their time in the forces should receive priority NHS treatment.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:
"Veterans can return to civilian life with particular mental health problems brought about by their exposure to highly stressful combat and humanitarian situations. The Scottish Government believes we need to do everything we can to help them and that's why I'm delighted to announce our investment in this pilot scheme.
"We want to see a community-based, one-stop-shop for veterans' mental healthcare to offer them effective support. This will be a partnership in the best sense of the word, involving the NHS, the charity Combat Stress, veterans' organisations and others to deliver fresh approaches to care.
"The pilot will take a flexible approach and we will listen and respond where the case is made for change and improvement."
Locating the initiative in Lothian takes advantage of the staff and services already operating at the Rivers Centre, a specialist traumatic stress clinic, and the proximity of the military barracks in Edinburgh.