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Mental Health and the Armed Forces, Part Two: The Provision of Care inquiry


We concluded that the vast majority of veterans leave the Services with no ill-effects and that the public perception that most veterans are 'mad, bad or sad' was not only a myth but harmful to veterans.

Government response published

The Defence Committee is examining the provision of mental health care in the UK to both serving personnel and veterans and their families. This inquiry forms Part Two of the Committee’s examination into Mental Health and the Armed Forces, having reported on the scale of mental health issues in Part One.

The Committee will address the following questions:

  • To what extent do serving and former armed forces personnel require specific mental health care for treatment to be most effective, either as a whole or for specific groups?
  • How far does Government provision for mental health services to serving and former armed forces personnel in the UK meet both these specific care requirements and the Armed Forces Covenant’s principle of priority care, including during transition?
  • To what extent are Armed Forces charities covering any gaps in Government mental health care provision?
  • Are veterans and their families aware of the mental health services available and how effective has initiatives such as the Veterans Gateway and 24hr helplines been in helping awareness and access?
  • Are GPs and other NHS medical practitioners sufficiently aware of the needs and entitlements of veterans and their families to provide appropriate advice and referrals?
  • Do veterans receive the mental health care and support they need quickly once they seek help?
  • How does the provision of care and the outcomes achieved for veterans differ across the UK?
  • How are the families of serving personnel and veterans with mental health issues supported?
  • To what extent are government departments, local authorities and charities across the UK aligned and working together effectively to provide mental health services to veterans?

Submissions by individual Armed Forces members and their families

The Committee is particularly keen to hear from both current and former servicemen and women and their families on their experiences, both good and bad, of seeking and receiving mental health care. However, please bear in mind that the Committee will not consider individual cases or matters currently before a court of law.

The Committee recognises that such submissions are likely to contain sensitive personal information and in order to ensure anonymity, the Committee will not publish submissions relating to individual experiences. Instead, the Committee will publish with the main report a detailed review of all such submissions received, which will draw out the key themes and present anonymised quotes as examples of what the Committee has seen. The Committee may also select anonymised examples to use in the report.

The Ministry of Defence is content for serving personnel and civil servants to submit written evidence to the inquiry on the understanding that:

  • It is in a personal capacity;
  • In line with long-standing principles as Crown Servants, submissions from those employed by the MoD should only comment on personal experiences and not matters of policy;
  • Those submitting evidence should also be careful not to reveal private information about other people in their submissions.