Armed Forces: Mental Health

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 8th November 2021.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing pastoral support to non-religious armed forces personnel alongside religious chaplaincy services.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to recruit non-religious pastoral carers to provide belief-based support for the 56,000 regular and reserve personnel who currently identify as having no religion.

Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes all aspects of the health and wellbeing of its personnel very seriously. We are working to create and sustain an inclusive environment where people of all faiths and beliefs feel able to be authentic in the workplace, feel respected and are able to achieve their full potential.

MOD encourages and supports a number of faith and belief staff networks to support and connect people with each other and help to create a better working environment for our staff. These networks also play an important role connecting Defence to local faith and belief communities, who often have a strong interest in our work.

The Humanists and non-religious in Defence (HAND) Network is a thriving internal community, led by a strong champion, promoting the interest of the non-religious community within Defence. The HAND Network is working together with the MOD's Diversity and Inclusion team on an active ongoing project which seeks to address the delivery of pastoral care to non-religious Defence personnel.

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