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Funding increase for Armed Forces mental health services

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has pledged to increase funding for Armed Forces mental health services to £220-million over the next decade and launched the new 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline.

The new number 0800 323 4444 – now live – will be backed up by a major internal communications campaign on mental fitness across the services.

Combat Stress – the leading veterans mental health charity – has been commissioned to run the new helpline service for serving troops 24 hours a day. The new line will be backed up by a deeper partnership between the MOD and the charity and run by a team of specially-trained professionals.

The Ministry of Defence will provide additional funds to enhance Combat Stress’ existing service – predominantly aimed at veterans – and are working together to develop information sharing processes with the military to ensure any serving service personnel in crisis are provided with the appropriate support tailored for their needs.

Mr 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 £2-million a year on mental health services for the next decade on top of the £20-million we already spend each year.

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

image © Crown Copyright

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