STMSS25 – Sue Freeth – Combat Stress UK

Sue joined Combat Stress in 2016 as the first female Chief Executive in the charity’s 100-year history. Since her arrival, the charity has increased its profile and contributes actively to veterans’ mental health and particularly military trauma healthcare. Sue has set out a new strategic direction in the face of growing demand for military trauma treatment and a changing NHS landscape.

Sue joined Combat Stress following a decade as Director of Welfare and latterly Director of Operations at The Royal British Legion (TRBL). At TRBL she commissioned the first UK veterans’ population mapping studies and initiated and led the early stages of the Armed Forces Covenant campaign and a string of other successful parliamentary policy campaigns.  During her 10-year tenure she transformed TRBL’s service footprint across UK, opened its 16 high street Pop In Centres and tripled its services. Prior to joining TRBL she held a series of leadership roles at Scope, the UK cerebral palsy charity including a year’s secondment to Department of Health on a community care task force preparing local councils for implementing the 2001 Health & Community Care Act.

Sue has served on MoD and NHSE committees and was a Cobseo Non-Executive Director representing Combat Stress. She is currently serving on a steering group board of a veterans’ sector emerging leaders programme hosted by Clore Social and Forces in Mind Trust.  She also serves as a consortia member on the Veterans’ Gateway Strategy Board. Sue is a former lay member on NHS England Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group, partner member of MoD Defence Recovery Partnership Board, Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League Welfare Committee, World Veterans Association Medical Advisory Committee and trustee of several veterans’ charities.

Sue holds a BA Hons from Exeter University and an MBA from Aston Business School and is EQM qualified.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Combat Stress.org Web site

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Shauna’s latest book: Warrior: How to Support Those Who Protect Us

Duane’s latest book: Military in the Rear View Mirror: Mental Health and Wellness in Post-Military Life


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Duane K. L. France is a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a mental health counselor practicing in the state of Colorado. Do you want to join the conversation regarding veteran mental health? Share, like, and comment. Read Duane's previous posts and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep the conversation about #veteranmentalhealth going.