Armed forces veterans, including those who served in Afghanistan, will benefit from additional mental health support backed by £2.7 million for Op COURAGE – the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.
The government has announced an expansion of services to support those experiencing complex mental and/or physical trauma, or alcohol and substance misuse.
Dedicated care co-ordinators will be appointed to act as a single point of contact to better support veterans with complex mental and physical trauma. They will help them to navigate the health and care system, consult with health and care professionals, with the ultimate aim of reducing suicide rates within the veteran community.
Health and Social Care 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.”
This additional funding builds on the significant mental health support provided by NHS England in recognition of the unique needs of veterans and the challenges they face, including through the Veterans’ Trauma Network and Op COURAGE which has already received over 16,000 referrals to date.
It is estimated 38,000 members of the armed forces community, including veterans, suffer from alcohol and substance misuse. The funding will ensure dedicated substance misuse services are integrated as part of Op COURAGE, making it as easy as possible to access support.