All Call Signs
1505. Dan Arnold
1506. Stephen James
Dan Arnold and Stephen James, from Portsmouth, created ‘All Call Signs’ - a mental health chat service manned by 700 volunteer veterans who offer peer-to-peer text chats with serving military personnel or veterans.
Dan and Stephen both served with The Second Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, and set up ‘All Call Signs’ following their experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the death of their friend and comrade Danny Johnston, who took his own life in May 2018. The network is run entirely by volunteers who have served in the military and is operated through a specially designed chat app, allowing users to instantly connect with a listener. They also run a suicide prevention system called Beacon Alert that uses the veteran network around the UK, as well as existing search and rescue assets, to respond when a veteran or service person goes missing and is believed to be at risk of self-harm or suicide. So far, the Beacon Alert has successfully helped prevent more than 100 attempts. As well as their online presence, Dan and Stephen also manage a base in Portsmouth, and are working with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs to improve mental health services for veterans.
In a personal letter to Dan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“From your service in Afghanistan, you understand the courage and fortitude required to serve in our brilliant Armed Forces and the enormity of the challenges that can be faced on a mission.
“So it is fantastic to learn how you and Stephen have raised an army of veteran volunteers who provide peer-to-peer comradeship to anyone in need of support.
“You are not only Points of Light to our serving military, but an inspiration to the whole country.”
In a personal letter to Stephen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I want to thank you for your service to our country and the bravery with which you have shared the trauma of PTSD.
“I am lost in admiration for how you have drawn on this experience to create a brilliant tech support service for those who are serving today.
“Together with Dan, you epitomise the very best of our country and I am honoured to be able to recognise your service.”
Dan and Stephen said:
“We are completely blown away to receive such an award. This award is for the whole ‘All Call Signs’ community who share our passion to change the landscape of Armed Forces mental health.”