Government launches mental health military hotline

The Government has launched a new helpline to help tackle mental health issues within the armed forces.

The facility forms part of the £220 million support package pledged to improve armed forces mental health services over the next decade.

The new number – 0800 323 4444 – will be available to all service personnel and their families 24 hours a day.

The helpline will be run by charity Combat Stress, an organisation which works with former and serving members of the armed forces to treat stress, anxiety, depression and many other mental health conditions.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Mental illnesses caused by life on the battlefield can have a devastating impact on our brave heroes and their families. It is our moral and professional duty to ensure that we do all we can for our world-class troops.

“That’s why we have commissioned the new 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline and will spend an extra £2-million a year on mental health services for the next decade on top of the £20-million we already spend each year.

“I will personally be working with all the service chiefs to make sure there isn’t a single person in the forces who doesn’t know where to turn in times of trouble.”

Chief Executive of Combat Stress Sue Freeth 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.”

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