This report forms a second part to 2018 report, Mental Health and the Armed Forces, Part One: The Scale of mental health issues. The report discusses evidence gathered in an inquiry, made by the UK’s House of Commons Defence Committee, into the mental health of the Armed Forces.
We concluded in Part One of our inquiry into Mental Health and the Armed Forces that the vast majority of veterans leave the Services with no ill-effects. However, the minority of serving personnel and veterans who do suffer from mental health conditions clearly need timely and appropriate care. The Ministry of Defence and the four health departments in the UK have together sought to improve the care available over the last decade and reduce the sense of stigma surrounding mental health. We welcome this and recognise that there have been tangible improvements, including the introduction of veteran-specific specialist mental health services across much of the UK. Despite such improvements, there is no doubt that some serving personnel, veterans and their families who need mental health care are still being completely failed by the system. For those in service, fear for their careers remains a key barrier to seeking help: even if they do, it is unacceptable that the quality of care received is not always up to standard, with shortfalls in staff exacerbating the problem.
Defence Select Committee, 2019. Mental Health and the Armed Forces, Part Two: The Provision of Care. Fourteenth Report of Session 2017–19. House of Commons final report. Available at: <https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmdfence/1481/1481.pdf>.