New Mental Health Phone Line Launched to Help UK Troops
A new mental health helpline was launched on Sunday for active members of the UK Armed Forces. Military Mental Health Helpline will work alongside Combat Stress’ existing phone line for veterans suffering from PTSD.
The helpline will be operated by military charity Combat Stress, and funded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson pledging £20 million over the next decade for this and other initiatives that will support the mental wellbeing of soldiers.
“It is our duty to ensure we do all we can for our world-class personnel,” Williamson told the Mail on Sunday. “I will be working personally with the service chiefs to make sure there isn’t a single person in the Armed Forces who doesn’t know where to turn in times of trouble.”
It is estimated that since 1995, 400 soldiers have committed suicide – and over 5,000 were diagnosed with mental health disorders over the last year alone.
Support for UK troops came into the spotlight last month when it was reported that Royal Engineer Nathan Hunt, who served alongside Prince Harry in Afghanistan, had committed suicide and was found dead at his home in Lincoln. In the wake of Hunt’s death, the MoD promised to do more to help troops.
Hunt’s mother, Maria, spoke to the Mail about the new helpline: ‘It is fantastic news, I’m thrilled to bits. I am so glad that something good has come out of Nathan’s death.’
Nathan’s widow Lainey stated: ‘This is brilliant news. Soldiers need someone to talk to. A lot of lads are put off talking to doctors and counsellors face-to-face, so the helpline will be very useful.’
The Military Mental Health Helpline can called from 0800 323 4444 and is available 24/7.