Soldier at the Army Personnel Recovery Centre in Edinburgh [Picture: Sergeant Ian Forsyth, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, met with the Chief Executive of Combat Stress, Andrew Cameron, to discuss how they could work together to further improve mental health services for the Armed Forces.
The meeting came on the day when the Government announced that Armed Forces mental health services will receive a £7.2m boost under new plans. The 'No health without mental health' strategy sets out how the Government will work with the NHS, local government and the third sector to help those who have left the Armed Forces recover and challenge stigma.
Last year the Government commissioned Dr Andrew Murrison to conduct a review of mental healthcare for Service personnel and veterans. Acting on the recommendations of the report, the £7.2m injection will fund a number of new initiatives such as doubling the number of therapists trained to treat veterans, the setting up of a 24-hour veterans' counselling and support line and developing a learning package to help GPs better understand the needs of the military.
Mr Robathan said:
"The Nation has a duty to support our Armed Forces and I am determined to ensure that those men and women who are experiencing problems receive the best care available.
Defence Minister Andrew Robathan (left) meets Andrew Cameron, Chairman of Combat Stress, at the Ministry of Defence Main Building in London [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Amanda Reynolds, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
"The MOD and Combat Stress share a common goal: to deliver the best mental health services for veterans. By working together and sharing our knowledge and expertise, we can further improve the care that we provide. Last year, we paid Combat Stress more than £3m to support their work and I am confident that in the future our relationship will grow even stronger.
Mr Cameron said:
"We are delighted to be in a constructive, strategic partnership with the Ministry of Defence and Department of Health. Veterans' mental health issues can be complex and multifaceted - many of the veterans that we see at Combat Stress have chronic and debilitating conditions.
"We need to establish a multi-agency approach to dealing with veterans' mental health so that we can work together towards the best possible outcome for the Nation's veterans and their families."