UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has committed to increase funding for the armed forces’ mental health services to £220m over the next ten years.
In addition to the investment, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched the new Military Mental Health Helpline, which provides round the clock service to personnel.
The helpline will be backed by a major internal communications campaign on mental health across the services.
Williamson said: “Mental illnesses caused by life on the battlefield can have a devastating impact on our brave heroes and their families. It is our moral and professional duty to ensure that we do all we can for our world-class troops.
“That’s why we have commissioned the new 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline and will spend an extra £2m a year on mental health services for the next decade on top of the £20m we already spend each year.”
Combat Stress has been commissioned to operate the new helpline service in order to provide advice for troops 24 hours a day.
The MoD will offer additional funds in order to improve the existing service provided by the UK-based veterans’ mental health charity.
The partnership between the MoD and Combat Stress will focus on developing information sharing processes with the military to ensure that any serving personnel in crisis are provided with the required support.
The Combat Stress helpline is claimed to be the only service in the UK that talks to callers seeking help, and provides practical help by calling emergency services if required at the same time.