About Combat Stress

The history, the future

Combat Stress was founded in May 1919, just after the First World War ended.

Our original name was the Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare Society and we opened our first “recuperative home” in 1920 on Putney Hill in South West London.

For almost a century, we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with issues like trauma, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Changing attitudes to mental health

The founders of Combat Stress saw how thousands of servicemen from the First World War with severe mental health problems received little or no sympathy. Many men were suffering from shell-shock and were sent to mental war hospitals.

Combat Stress changed attitudes to mental health. The charity’s founders believed that veterans could be helped to cope with their mental health problems through a rehabilitation programme. In 1919 Combat Stress started occupational therapy including basket weaving. Occupational therapy is still offered today at our treatment centres and in the community teams.

Pioneering approach

Over time we have developed our services and we now provide evidence-based clinical programmes, treatment and support alongside our 24-hour Helpline.

Combat Stress today

We continue to support former servicemen and women from every service and every conflict, on the phone, online, in the community and at our treatment centres across the UK.

To find out more about the treatment and support available for our veterans click here.

Hopefully this page alongside the Combat Stress site shows just how important this charity is. Not just to me, but to all of the other men and women that have and that continue to fight for our country.