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New help for traumatised combat veterans

Cash injection will speed up access to help for thousands of forces personnel

Onmedica staff

Tuesday, 06 April 2010

Faced with growing demand from serving and ex-armed forces personnel the charity Combat Stress is to receive £2m of new funding to help improve access to mental health services.

The announcement follows the launch by the Prince of Wales in March of The Enemy Within Appeal which hopes to raise £30million. Over the last five years the number of new Veterans seeking the help of COmbat Stress has risen by 66% according to chief executive David Hill. And still, on average, Veterans wait 14 years before seeking the help of Combat Stress. The Appeal aims to:

  • Help the "Enemy Within Appeal" raise £30m to enhance and develop mental health services to Veterans
  • Raise awareness of the plight of Veterans suffering from psychological injury
  • Encourage Veterans and their families to seek help earlier

Mr Hill added: "We know from over 90 years' experience that Veterans want to be treated alongside their peers and by organisations that understand Service-related psychological injury. Equally we know that partnership between Government and military charities is vital to ensure that Veterans can access services effectively and engage with the treatment provided.

"The (£2m) announcement is a very welcome further step to ensuring that Veterans have improved access to a choice of appropriate services, with the long term aim of reducing the average 14 year timelag that it takes for Veterans to seek help for psychological illness after leaving the Armed Forces."

Dr Chai Patel, who is chairing the Enemy Within Appeal', said: "On behalf of those Veterans currently accessing Combat Stress services, as well as everyone who is supporting The Enemy Within Appeal, I would like to say how grateful we are for today's announcement.

"This additional funding will make a tangible difference right now to the growing number of Veterans who are in need of mental health services. It chimes greatly with the aims of The Enemy Within Appeal, which I hope will continue to be supported by the public and politicians alike in order to ensure we meet the projected future demand for high quality mental health services for our Veterans."

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