A PSYCHOLOGIST who helps military veterans come to terms with the mental scars of the battlefield has been recognised for her work with a major national award.
Dr Lucy Abraham, 33, was named Healthcare Civilian of the Year at the UK Military and Civilian Health Partnership Awards for her determination to improve services to former servicemen and women in the Lothians and beyond.
As clinical lead for the Edinburgh-based Veterans First Point service, she offers one-to-one therapeutic consultations and has shared her knowledge throughout Britain.
Health secretary Alex Neil was among the first to pay tribute to her success.
After completing her undergraduate degree in psychology in Aberdeen, Dr Abraham worked with brain injury rehabilitation patients in Newcastle before moving to the Capital to gain a doctorate in clinical psychology at Edinburgh University.
There, she took on various placements with NHS Lothian and worked for five years at the State Hospital in Carstairs.
She developed an interest in helping those who had been through traumatic or life-changing events, and decided to use her skills to help military veterans and their families.
Since opening in 2009, Veterans First Point has created a service tailored to the needs of veterans, and offers help with benefits, education and employment as well as psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, under one roof.
Dr Abraham said: “The nature of my role is extremely varied and that is something that very much appeals to me. The service caters for veterans whatever their needs may be.
“What makes the work possible is the fantastic team that I am privileged to work alongside and inspirational clients that we aim to help.”
Dr Abraham, a keen walker, kayaker and cyclist, said her award was testament to the efforts of her entire team, which includes veterans as well as highly-skilled medical professionals.
She added: “I hope that this award highlights the service to other veterans in need of assistance and encourages them to also come forward for help.”
Veterans First Point is funded by NHS Lothian, the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Defence.
Linda Irvine, NHS Lothian’s strategic programme manager for mental health and wellbeing, praised Dr Abraham’s “dedication and commitment” and said she was delighted to see her recognised in a “special and prestigious way”.
Mr Neil said: “It is absolutely vital that our military and civilian health professionals get the recognition they deserve for their outstanding work and achievements over the past year and I am delighted that Dr Abraham has been rewarded.”