A £200,000 charity partnership will address spiralling demand for mental health services among British Armed Forces veterans suffering with mental health conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.
This ground-breaking collaboration between the Veterans’ Foundation (VF) and the Contact Group (‘Contact’) will greatly increase capacity for the vital rapid support available to veterans suffering with psychological difficulties.
The quarterly grant awards from the VF, which could total £200,000 this year, will be distributed to established charitable providers of mental health treatment who are Contact members, including Combat Stress, Help for Heroes, Walking With The Wounded, ICARUS and PTSD Resolution.
These charities have been working hard to close the gap between growing demand and the help available to veterans, but the following facts about serving personnel (who go on to become veterans) highlight the urgent need for more support:
- One in ten members of the UK Armed Forces have been seen in military healthcare for a mental health related reason.*
- Almost a fifth of servicemen and women who have seen active combat have been impacted by symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress.**
- In 2020-21, mental and behavioural disorders were the second highest principal cause of medical discharge from the Armed Forces, accounting for 47% of discharges from the Army and 46% of discharges from the RAF.***
Dr Charles Winstanley, Independent Chair of Contact, said: “We are delighted that the Veterans’ Foundation has recognised the demand and capacity issues that are currently affecting many veterans being able to access quality mental health treatment in a timely way.”
“We are looking forward to working with the Veterans’ Foundation and treatment-providing charity partners to ensure that this dedicated fund is appropriately targeted and effectively used to achieve its strategic aims and help veterans in need access the quality treatment they urgently require.”
Veterans to benefit from this funding may be new or returning patients with these organisations who may otherwise not have been able to access appropriate, professional assessment and treatment in a timely way.
David Shaw, CEO and Founder of the Veterans’ Foundation, explained why this cause was so important: “Mental health care is one of the biggest issues facing our Armed Forces personnel in modern times and the Veterans’ Foundation is passionate about addressing this vital need.”
“The demand for these important mental health services has outstripped supply in recent times, so we are proud to be helping Contact in their work to redress that balance.”
“However, none of this would be possible without our supporters, their donations and the players of the Veterans’ Lottery, who have helped us to give over £9.1 million in grants to more than 290 UK-based military charities since 2016 – thank you all.”
This award coincides with the launch of the Veterans’ Foundation’s #PTSD100 campaign, which marks 100 years since the first Government report into the mental health effects of war on our Armed Forces personnel.
The report was the official declaration that the invisible scars of war are very real – soldiers suffering with ‘shell-shock’ and ‘war neurosis’ as it was then labelled, ran into their hundreds of thousands after WW1, leaving many debilitated by what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
#PTSD100 aims to raise awareness and funds throughout 2022 to ensure that Armed Forces veterans receive the vital support and treatment they require for mental health conditions including PTSD, which not only affect veterans themselves, but also their families and the wider communities they live in.
#PTSD100 FILM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJS2LqKkvAc
* Ministry Of Defence – UK Armed Forces Mental Health: Annual Summary & Trends Over Time, 2007/08 – 2020/21: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/993208/20210617_MH_Annual_Report_2020-21.pdf
** ‘Mental health outcomes at the end of the British involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts: a cohort study’ – Stevelink et al, British Journal of Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1192/bjp.2018.175: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/mental-health-outcomes-at-the-end-of-the-british-involvement-in-the-iraq-and-afghanistan-conflicts-a-cohort-study/E77CCC4B6D0B2A3B6A481C0980D29E93
*** Annual Medical Discharges in the UK Regular Armed Forces, 1 April 2016-31 March 2021, Ministry of Defence: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1001267/UK_service_personnel_medical_discharges__financial_year_2020_21.pdf
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Notes to Editors:
The Veterans’ Foundation is one of the fastest-growing UK charitable foundations, helping British Armed Forces veterans in need. The Foundation has given over £10 million to over 300 different British Armed Forces charities and organisations since its inception in 2016, addressing issues that our ex-servicemen and women face, such as mental and physical health or injury, family care, employment, homelessness, isolation and education. For more information see veteransfoundation.org.uk
The Contact Group (‘Contact’) is the UK collaboration for military mental health policy, treatment and research. Within the group, statutory and non-statutory organisations, including charity, academic and professional bodies, work together on military mental health priorities. As well as core members, a number of Contact associate, research associate and partner organisations also engage with and help to facilitate the work of the group. Membership of Contact and engagement with its collaborative work is entirely voluntary. For more information see: contactarmedforces.co.uk
Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For over a century the charity has helped former servicemen and women deal with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Today Combat Stress provides specialist treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues. For more information see: combatstress.org.uk
Help for Heroes
Help for Heroes believes those who serve our country deserve support when they’re wounded. Every day, men and women have to leave their career in the Armed Forces as a result of physical or psychological wounds. The charity has already supported more than 26,500 people and won’t stop until every wounded veteran gets the support they deserve. For more information see: helpforheroes.org.uk
Walking With The Wounded
Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) deliver employment, mental health, care coordination and volunteering programmes in collaboration with the NHS to get those who served, and their families, whether mentally, socially or physically wounded, back on their feet and making a positive contribution once more. For more information see: walkingwiththewounded.org.uk
ICARUS is a veteran-led mental health treatment charity. It provides immediate treatment and/or therapy to veterans of all three armed forces in the event of mental health issues or medical crisis, and works towards their general rehabilitation and support for their return to normal life. ICARUS provides psychological and psychotherapeutic mental health services and treatment. All treatment sessions are virtual which allows flexibility with timing and availability. Veterans from all over the UK are treated and treatment for veterans is free of charge, regardless of rank, unit, service record or age. For more information see: icaruscharity.org
PTSD Resolution helps veterans, reservists and families who are struggling to reintegrate into a normal work and family life because of trauma suffered during service in the armed forces. The programme is community-based, with treatment and support provided locally through a nationwide network of 200 therapists accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. For more information see: ptsdresolution.org