This week the Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid announced an expansion of services to support veterans experiencing complex mental and/or physical trauma or related alcohol and substance misuse issues.
Op COURAGE the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service will receive a mental health support package of £2.7m, building upon previous mental health investment provided by NHS England.
Sajid Javid said at the announcement of the investment: “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.”
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Veterans urged to access specialist support
An estimated 38,000 ex and current armed force personnel suffer from addiction and substance misuse issues. Addressing that problem, the multi-million-pound investment, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said, would ensure that dedicated substance misuse services are integrated into Op COURAGE, improving access to services and support.
Earlier last month, former serviceman and women charity Combat Stress called on the government to do more to support veterans in the aftermath of the recent news coverage. The charity reported that the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan had sparked a 100% increase in calls to its 24/7 hotline, with many reaching out due to their experiences being brought to the fore once more.
In response, Defence Secretary Ben 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.”