Local mental health nurse recognised for work with armed forces veterans

A mental health nurse from Crawley has been shortlisted for a national award in recognition of his work with armed forces veterans across Sussex.

Martin Diver, Team Lead for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Mental Health Liaison Practitioners in Crawley and Horsham, is a finalist for the ‘Inspiration of the Year’ award at the English Veterans Awards.

The awards celebrate the contribution of armed forces veterans to business, fitness, sport and the wider community, and their successful transition to civilian life.

Before becoming a mental health nurse, Martin served with 2nd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment. He left the armed forces in 2000 to train as a nurse and joined Sussex Partnership in 2015.

Martin has been instrumental in setting up the Sussex Partnership Armed Forces Community, of which he is Chair. 

The community was initially set up in Crawley two years ago and has developed into a network of NHS staff, ex-service personnel, reservists and family members who offer peer-led support through drop ins, events and social activities.

Veterans and their families can use the community to access advice on a range of information including health, education, training, housing and benefits.

There are currently around 900 people involved with the network, with meetings and drop ins now regularly happening across Sussex, including Eastbourne, Littlehampton, Brighton and Worthing.

Martin’s work with the armed forces community has led to Sussex Partnership being one of the first mental health trusts in the country to receive ‘Veteran Aware’ accreditation from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance. 

The status recognises Sussex Partnership’s commitment to improving NHS mental health care for serving members of the armed forces, veterans and reservists. It is awarded to trusts that have made pledges and taken action to ensure that members of the armed forces community are never disadvantaged when receiving care, and that staff have training on veteran-specific needs. 

Speaking about being a finalist, Martin said: “I am humbled and honoured to be shortlisted for this award. As an ex-member of the armed forces I know what it’s like to transition back to civilian life, and that’s why I’m passionate about supporting our armed forces veterans to live well after they have finished serving our country. 

“I’m a mental health nurse, and it’s really important that veterans seek support if they are struggling with how they are feeling, but the Sussex Partnership Armed Forces Community is so much more than just mental health. We help connect people to the full range of support available to them and their family, and perhaps most importantly, to other people in the same situation as them, so that they can share experiences and help each other.”

The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 25 September at the Mercure Holland House hotel, Bristol.

For more information about the awards visit www.veteransawards.co.uk 

For more information about the Sussex Armed Forces Community, follow them on twitter at @SussexAFC.