Posted on November 8, 2018
The MOD’s been under pressure to do more, after a spate of suicides among veterans. The package of measures includes a new outreach service by the Veterans Gateway helpline and support for a new initiative with service charity SSAFA. Under the trial, the Gateway will now proactively call veterans to check in with them to see how they are, and to tell them where they can get support, particularly for mental health needs. Since being set up last year, the Veterans Gateway has already received over 16,000 calls, signposting ex-forces personnel to the wide range of support available, including the medical care in the NHS. Money is also going to SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) to promote a new support group for bereaved families. This provides specialist help and advice to families who have lost a loved one to suicide, including through the Joint Casualty and Compassion Centre, which provides practical advice to families who are experiencing bereavement. There will also be an increased commitment to studying the causes of death, including suicide, amongst service personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. This follows similar studies for veterans of the Falklands and Gulf conflicts. The MOD is also looking at at ways to increase the awareness of veterans’ issues among GPs and the worlds of business, employment, finance and leisure.