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Mental Health of Veterans

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 11th March 2020.

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Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence) 11:00 am, 11th March 2020

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the mental health of veterans.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer. I thank you and the Members who have turned up for the debate on what is probably rather a slow news day.

Since I introduced my Bill to ring-fence NHS spending for veteran mental health services, military personnel from across the UK have been in touch to confirm the worst: veterans are struggling to access mental health support and, sadly, we are all letting them down. We have only half an hour for this debate, so I cannot cover all the complex reasons why we are where we are today. I will focus on three areas: the importance of peer-led support, the funding problem and the need for a more holistic approach to ensure we look after veteran mental health in every aspect of life.

In addition to speaking to veterans up and down the country, my office has engaged with amazing charities such as the Forces in Mind Trust, the Ripple Pond, the Royal British Legion, PTSD Resolution—that organisation works with people who have post-traumatic stress disorder—and, of course, Combat Stress. Together with our NHS, these groups work hard with volunteering veterans to do what they can, but my fear is that without the Government’s help, they will struggle to continue the fight for improved mental health support.