Concerns Highlighted with Government Statistics on Military Mental Health

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Help for Heroes is determined to help Veterans get the correct support for any challenge they may face. Last November, the charity asked the Defence Select Committee - which examines MOD and Government policies - to look into the issue of Veterans mental health to find ways of improving services for the Armed Forces community. The committee of MPs is collating opinions from across the Armed Forces and Health sector.

Help for Heroes has given both a written and verbal submissions to the Committee and focussed on a number of key areas:

  • The charity does not believe that current Government statistics accurately reflect the extent of mental health problems among service personnel and Veterans
  • The government’s understanding of “need” which is too simplistic and doesn’t account for those who do not have a diagnosed condition but who nevertheless occasionally struggle with their mental health
  • The current model of care that provides support for 8 months, which is often not enough for those with very complex needs. 

The Committee also focused on provision in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as waiting times, how they differ across the country and, in many cases, far exceed set targets.

Help for Heroes submission to the Defence Select Committee, and subsequent oral evidence can be found here.

Karen Mead, Head of Psychological Wellbeing at Help for Heroes said: "We are working hard to understand the scale of the need and identify how best to support those with psychological injuries. One of the challenges around this is noting that existing government statistics are often limited to the numbers of individuals actually coming forward for support. We suspect based on international research, that there are likely to be many more who are not counted in these figures as they have not yet come forward to seek help. Often, help-seeking is delayed until after someone has left the armed forces.

“Many WIS that we support report that they were reluctant to seek help while serving due to concerns it may impact on their career, limit opportunity for promoting or result in being medically discharged. This is something organisations including MOD and H4H are working to try and change.

“Help for Heroes is keen to work more closely with the MOD, government departments and other charities to ensure the needs of wounded, injured and sick Veterans are championed and they receive a fair deal”