To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve mental health support for veterans.
21 September 2020
The Government is taking a number of measures to improve mental health support for veterans across the UK. From the beginning of service in the Armed Forces, personnel now undergo ‘through-life’ psychological resilience training, and upon leaving they have access to the Defence Transition Service (DTS), launched in October 2019. The DTS provides support for Service leavers and families who are the most likely to face challenges during transition to civilian life, including an impact on their mental health.
Wherever they live in the UK, all veterans are able to receive specialist mental health support if they need it. As healthcare is a devolved matter, further questions regarding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be addressed to the relevant devolved administration.
As well as the statutory services delivered by the NHS, the Government provides funding to a range of charity and third sector organisations, through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and, most recently, a £6 million emergency COVID-19 Impact Fund. This funding has supported fantastic organisations across the four nations to deliver services to support the mental and physical wellbeing of veterans.
We are also investing in research, to improve our understanding of mental health amongst serving and ex-service personnel. This includes a recent study looking at the impact of COVID-19 on veterans and a long term veterans study examining a range of mental health and wellbeing factors; both of these are led by Kings College. A further two studies will contribute to improving the data and understanding around suicide; the first examining the cause of death, including suicide in members of the Armed Forces who have served since 2001 and a further study looking at the events in the 12 months leading up to known suicides in the last five years of anyone from the Armed Forces community.