Extra £2.7 million for veterans’ mental health services
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said armed forces and veterans 'represent the very best of us'
An extra £2.7 million of funding will provide additional mental health support for veterans.
The cash was announced as the British military presence in Afghanistan ended after 20 years, with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace acknowledging that many of those who served there “experienced things they will never forget”.
The money forms part of Operation Courage – the veterans’ mental health and wellbeing service.
Mr Wallace said: “The campaign in Afghanistan was incredibly challenging but our personnel displayed the highest levels of bravery and professionalism whilst securing the rights and freedoms of millions.
“Many of our people experienced things they will never forget, and we remain committed to supporting this veteran community through Op Courage.
“We are forever indebted to the heroics and sacrifice of our service personnel and veterans, and pledge to ensure they receive any support they need.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our serving armed forces and veterans represent the very best of us, with recent events in Afghanistan yet another reminder of their dedication and sacrifice.
“Op Courage already provides excellent support for veterans’ mental health, but I know there is more we can do to get the right care and treatment to those who have given up so much to protect us.
“This new funding will ensure support is in place where it is needed most, recognising the unique challenges veterans face.”
Jeff Harrison, interim CEO at Combat Stress, said the charity has not heard detail on how the money will be spent but welcomed the extra investment.
He said calls to its helpline have doubled since the fall of Kabul, which indicates a resurgence of post-traumatic stress disorder.
He continued: “Not only are we taking calls from Afghanistan veterans, but also from those who served in Northern Ireland and the Falklands who have had their trauma retriggered by the recent events.
“We are very concerned about the mental health of the veterans calling us for help.
“The increase in calls to our helpline means more demand for our specialist clinical services.
“We are doing everything we can to meet the needs of these veterans, in addition to treating those veterans we are already supporting, but without an increase in funding it will be a challenge for us financially to provide extra resources.”