Plans to provide extra mental health nurses dedicated to caring for veterans experiencing mental health difficulties and a 24-hour helpline which will provide counselling and support to veterans have been announced today.
Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox made the announcement of the new provisions to help Service personnel and former members of the Armed Forces who are suffering from mental health disorders following today’s publication of a report by Dr Andrew Murrison MP on mental health services for serving personnel and veterans.
The report, ‘Fighting Fit — A mental health plan for servicemen and veterans’, can be seen in full at Related Links.
Dr Murrison’s report, which was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron, makes a wide-ranging number of recommendations that the MOD and Department of Health will be looking to introduce.
Of these, the four principal recommendations are:
• incorporation of a structured mental health systems enquiry into existing medical examinations performed whilst serving;
• an uplift in the number of mental health professionals conducting veterans outreach work from Mental Health Trusts in partnership with a leading mental health charity;
• a Veterans Information Service to be deployed 12 months after a person leaves the Armed Forces;
• trial of an online early intervention service for serving personnel and veterans.
The MOD will discuss these plans with the Department of Health, Dr Murrison, Combat Stress and other interested parties.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
“Due to the urgency of the issue, I’m pleased to announce that we will put into place two key recommendations immediately — a dedicated 24-hour support line for veterans, and introducing 30 dedicated mental health nurses in Mental Health Trusts to ensure the right support is organised specifically for veterans.”
Ministry of Defence, UK