Having been accused of “Turning a blind eye” to the spiralling number of military veteran suicides earlier this year, new UK government strategy aims to ensure no veteran is left behind when it comes to post-service support.
Until now, many of those in need have turned to charities, such as Combat Stress for support. They currently rely on public donations to fund their services and receive no government funding.
“Of the veterans we treat, 92% have two or more mental health conditions and almost 80% have served in a combat role.” Says Dr Walter Busuttil, Medical Director at Combat Stress.
“In the last decade, the number of veterans seeking help from our charity, particularly from those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, has increased by 97% with more than 2,000 new veterans now coming to us each year.”
Produced jointly between the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, and including the Northern Ireland Office, the ‘Strategy for our Veterans’ outlines a new vision and principles to support those who served, as well as their families, in every aspect of their lives once they have hung up their uniform.
The strategy identifies six key areas where support is most needed over the next ten years: community and relationships, employment and skills, health and wellbeing, finance and debt, housing, and contact with the law. It assesses the barriers and opportunities in these areas to providing support to each veteran, including improved collaboration between organisations, better co-ordination of services and more robust data on the veteran community.
Read more about the strategy and pledges made to veterans by the UK government.
Declassified takes an honest and frank look at the issues facing current and former servicemen and women.
Michael Coates, the creator of Declassified, a former firefighter and solider,
“By declassifying stigmas and perceptions we wish to open up issues around mental fitness and wellbeing, talk in depth around subjects such as post-traumatic growth and delve into human development on a micro level. Our long-term vision is to provide hope, guidance, support and help for individuals who are suffering from both mental and physical illness or injury.”