Combat Stress helpline to be funded by the Ministry of Defence | Bolt Burdon Kemp Combat Stress helpline to be funded by the Ministry of Defence | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Combat Stress helpline to be funded by the Ministry of Defence

Combat Stress and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have announced a new partnership to provide an out-of-hours mental health helpline to service personnel.

The charity, Combat Stress, was founded in May 1919 and provides support to former servicemen and women dealing with issues such as trauma, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).

The new helpline, which launched on the 25th February 2018, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will run in conjunction with the helpline which is currently available for veterans.

  • Veterans seeking support can call – 0800 138 1619
  • Serving personnel seeking support can call – 0800 323 4444

Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said:

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the MoD to provide mental health support to serving personnel.  A significant minority of servicemen and women develop mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.  We know they can delay seeking treatment while in the Armed Forces, with some preferring to come forward for help after they have left the military. 

Left untreated, mental health problems can become more complex and have a devastating impact on those with the condition, as well as their loved ones.  It’s vital that people seek help as soon as they notice a change in their mental health.”

Government pledge to increase spending on mental health

The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has agreed that the MoD will spend an extra £2 million a year for the next decade to improve military mental health services, on top of the £20 million per year that is currently spent.

The MoD launched a new mental health initiative in July 2017 to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the Armed Forces, their families, veterans and Defence civilians.

The renewed focus on mental health comes at a time when demand for support services is at an all-time high.  The latest statistics from Combat Stress show a 143% increase in referrals for its services over the past 10 years.

I frequently come across service personnel and veterans who have suffered with serious mental health issues and who have struggled to get help.  The MoD has a duty of care to its personnel in respect of both their physical and mental health and I welcome the steps which are being taken to encourage personnel to speak up and seek help for mental health conditions.  I hope that these initiatives will mark a fundamental change of culture when it comes to the prevention and tackling of mental health issues.

Hannah Swarbrick is a solicitor at in the Military Claims team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.  If you or a loved one have a claim you can contact Hannah free of charge and in confidence on 0207 288 4851 or at  Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the team will contact you. Find out more about the Military Claims team

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