The government will be investing £2.7 million into mental health services for military veterans to help provide easier access to vital support
Military service is undoubtedly one of the most mentally strenuous occupations in the world. Many of those that serve will experience scenarios many of us can only imagine.
Mental health support is therefore vital in helping veterans process and psychological distress they may experience when serving, and helping them manage their wellbeing going forward.
Operation Courage is a service dedicated to doing just that, and has so far helped over 13,000 military veterans with anxiety and depression, and nearly 2,000 more with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Created through a partnership between NHS England and the Office for Veteran Affairs, Op Courage forms part of a nine-point plan for supporting the armed forces.
Now, the service will receive a further £2.7 million in funding in light of the recent situation in Afghanistan where military presence has come to an end after 20 years.
"The campaign in Afghanistan was incredibly challenging but our personnel displayed the highest levels of bravery and professionalism whilst securing the rights and freedoms of millions," said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
"Many of our people experienced things they will never forget, and we remain committed to supporting this veteran community through Op Courage.
"We are forever indebted to the heroics and sacrifice of our service personnel and veterans, and pledge to ensure they receive any support they need."
Health Secretary Sajid Javid also commented on the investment, describing the armed forces and veterans as "the very best of us, with recent events in Afghanistan yet another reminder of their dedication and sacrifice.
"Op Courage already provides excellent support for veterans' mental health, but I know there is more we can do to get the right care and treatment to those who have given up so much to protect us.
"This new funding will ensure support is in place where it is needed most, recognising the unique challenges veterans face."
Some of the money will go toward appointing care co-ordinators who will help former troops with particularly severe or complex trauma access the right services and support. Dedicated substance misuse services will also be integrated into Op Courage to provide rapid access to support for the estimated 38,000 members of the armed forces who abuse alcohol or substances.
Find out more about how to access Operation Courage here.
Written by Marco Ricci
Editor and contributor for Talking Mental Health