Martin Diver, a nurse from Crawley, has been shortlisted for a Soldiering On Award, recognising his fantastic contribution to supporting members of the armed forces community with their mental health.
Martin is the Managerial Lead for armed forces and Senior Nurse Practitioner at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist mental health and learning disability healthcare across south east England.
The Soldiering On Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have served their country, and those who work together in support of the Armed Forces Community.
Martin was instrumental in setting up the Sussex Partnership NHS Armed Forces Community which provides peer led support through drop-ins, events and social activities to serving or former military personnel across Sussex.
As an ex member of the armed forces, Martin has a keen understanding of the importance of mental wellbeing and support for current serving members of the armed forces and veterans. Martin served with 2nd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment before leaving in 2000 to train as a nurse. Since joining Sussex Partnership in 2015, Martin has worked hard to use his skills as a mental health nurse to support not only local people in Sussex who serve in the armed forces, but their families as well.
His hard work also led to Sussex Partnership being one of the first mental health trusts in the country to gain 'Veteran Aware' accreditation. Awarded by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), the accreditation recognises NHS Trusts that have made a series of pledges such as ensuring members of the armed forces community are never disadvantaged when receiving care, training staff on veteran-specific needs, and supporting the armed forces as an employer.
Martin said: 'I am very humbled by the nomination, which means such a great deal to me as it recognises the outstanding work being done in Sussex by our Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service, the Complex Treatment Service and the Armed Forces Community supporting veterans, families and carers.
'Being shortlisted as a finalist in the Healthcare & Rehabilitation category really shows how the whole of Sussex Partnership has got behind this subject and made it part of our daily assessment routine for everyone entering our services. We work very closely with armed forces veteran's breakfast clubs, Royal British Legion drop-ins and other support groups offering a substantial recovery programme to veterans, families and carers using our mental health services.
'I am absolutely thrilled and amazed at the nomination. Congratulations to all the nominees. I wish everyone the very best of luck at the awards.'
As well as celebrating his award nomination, Martin was also honoured to attend a reception at the House of Commons on Thursday 9 January, marking 20 years since the ban on lesbian, gay or bisexual people serving in the British Armed Forces was lifted. At the event the Minister for Defence, Johnny Mercer, gave a public apology on behalf of the Government for the ban.
Martin explained: 'It was great to be able to meet with veterans and serving military personnel, share stories and see the progress that has been made in the past 20 years. Attitudes are much more enlightened which allow serving LGBT personnel to be more like themselves and carry out their duties without fear of arrest and discharge from the military. It was also great to meet with the authors of "Fighting with Pride" which documents veterans and serving LGBT personnel and their stories.'
Winners will be announced at the gala dinner and awards ceremony on 24 April.
Find out more about the Sussex Partnership Armed Forces Community on Twitter by following @sussexafc.