We submitted evidence in March this year as part of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee inquiry into armed forces and veterans' mental health.
As part of our response we told the committee that: “the stigma over mental health remains a reason as to why serving personnel and veterans may not initially seek help”. We also said that “there is no information on how many veterans or serving personnel have access to counselling or psychotherapy, or whether they have accessed these services”.
Both these points were raised in the response, Mental Health and the Armed Forces, Part One: The scale of mental health issues which states “as the Department can record only those who seek help, its data probably underestimates the true figure”. It recognises that “accurate information about the extent of mental health problems in serving personnel and veterans is critical to determining the resources required to care for those in need of it”.
The report also acknowledges that “it is still taking too long for veterans to access treatment when they need it, and levels of care vary across the UK”.
We welcome the recognition that more must be done to care for the serving personnel and veterans who suffer from mental health problems, and will continue to feed into the follow up Mental Health and the Armed Forces, Part Two: The provision of care inquiry.