Mental health support – why the MoD needs to plan for the future as well as the present

Following the Government’s allocation of £10 million to support mental health for veterans through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, Defence Secretary Penny Mourdant has announced that up to £9 million of this funding will be allocated to mental health and wellbeing activities.

She also announced that additional measures will be taken to attract and support applications from organisations run by veterans, and that the Trust has funded tools to evaluate such projects to enable those organisations to attract greater funding in the future.

Welcoming the announcement, Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors and Visiting Professor of Law and Veterans’ Affairs at the University of Chester also sounded a note of caution. She commented:

“While I welcome this initiative, it must be recognised that mental health issues in the armed forces often come to light 5 to 10 years’ after leaving service.

“Those who leave the forces early, through injury, are particularly vulnerable.

“We have seen young men and woman with horrific injuries, survivors of double and triple amputations, go on to achieve incredible things.

“The comradeship in the military and the strength of personality to get up and not only walk but to run, ski, play sports and compete at high levels is phenomenal.

“However, that group of ex-service personnel will become an ageing population and injury will take its toll. This is when mental health issues come to light – when competing in the likes of the Invictus Games is no longer an option and normal life with severe injury becomes a reality. The MoD needs to have a plan for the future as well as the present.”