Mental health support service for Forces’ members launched

Soldiers web

A new helpline will offer servicemen and women someone to speak to about mental health any time of the day

26th February 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity helpline for members of the armed forces who are battling mental health problems has been launched.

Combat Stress has teamed up with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to launch a new support service which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The line is aimed at providing further help for troops who are suffering with conditions such as anxiety - with a 47% rise in the number of personnel with mental health problems reported in the last 10 years.

Sue Freeth, chief executive of Combat Stress, said: “A significant minority of servicemen and women develop mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. We know they can delay seeking treatment while in the armed forces, with some preferring to come forward for help after they have left the military.

“Left untreated, mental health problems can become more complex and have a devastating impact on those with the condition, as well as their loved ones. It’s vital that people seek help as soon as they notice a change in their mental health.”

The new service will run in conjunction with the charity’s existing helpline, which was launched seven years ago, and a further £2 million has been committed by the MOD to improve mental health services in the forces.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said “Our people are our priority. I want them to know how seriously we take their mental wellbeing. That’s why we have commissioned a new 24/7 mental health hotline and committed to spending an extra £2 million a year on mental health for the next decade on top of the £20 million a year we already spend.

“I will personally be working with the chiefs of staff from all three services to make sure there isn’t a single person in the forces who doesn’t know where to turn in times of trouble.”

The helpline can be contacted by phoning 0800 323 444.