16 May 2018

MOD announces new confidential support for personnel on operations

The Ministry of Defence has marked mental health awareness week with new confidential support for personnel on operations.

The MOD has announced a series of new joint projects with leading mental health charity Samaritans backed by £3.5 million in LIBOR funding.

The initiatives will build on the charity’s digital technology to offer military personnel at home and on operations abroad access to confidential support. Online and face to face training in listening skills will also be offered to serving personnel and families, in order to give them confidence and expertise in encouraging others to not suffer in silence.

As part of the partnership with Samaritans, a confidential webchat service is being developed allowing military personnel, who often live in shared living quarters, particularly when serving on operations abroad, the ability to talk in confidence with a trained staff. Pocket guides are also being produced which will provide information and emotional support for when people are in isolated locations, particularly on operations.

Samaritan volunteers with military experience will also be trained in how to address mental health issues in a military environment, based on cutting-edge research from King’s College London.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We are absolutely committed to making sure that no one in our military suffers in silence. I’ve stepped up our support for mental health in the Armed Forces, with an extra £2 million of funding a year and a new 24-hour mental health hotline.

“I’m delighted to announce that personnel serving abroad will be able to access a new confidential system to help them in their time of need.”

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