Photo source: How a special forces 'band of brothers' culture leads to civilian deaths in war. Credit. Pexels - Photo: 2020

Veteran Mental Health Charity Leaves Thousands at Risk

By J W Jackie

RENO, Nevada, USA (IDN) – A UK-based mental health charity that provides treatment to around 2,000 military veterans every year has announced that it will no longer be accepting new referrals. Combat Stress has helped veterans for more than 100 years but says that a lack of funding means that they can no longer afford to offer mental health assistance to veterans.As more than 200,000 personnel leave the military every year, many of whom go on to experience poor mental health, this news raises serious concerns about the future of veteran mental health in the UK.

Combat Stress hasn’t made the decision not to help any additional veterans with their mental health lightly. However, over the past two years, the UK Government has pulled the funding that the charity was receiving, meaning it now relies heavily on public donations.

As a result, the charity is expected to see a £6 million annual drop in funding, something which Sue Freeth, the chief executive of Combat Stress says is impossible for the charity to work with. “We cannot supply a critical service to four UK nations on £10m per annum when most of the funding is coming from the public and charitable sector funds,” she said.

Last year, it was revealed that almost 60 military veterans in the UK sought help for their mental health every single day. So, for Combat Stress to effectively shut its doors on these individuals is a huge worry. The charity has, however, revealed that any new referrals they receive will be passed on to the NHS. But this is another cause for concern, as in December 2019 the BBC reported that 50% of mental health patients endure waits of 28 days between appointments for treatment, while one in six have to wait 90 days.

With potentially thousands more individuals to treat every year, NHS wait times are likely to increase further, which is something that veterans simply can’t endure. Freeth voices similar concerns, stating, “I don’t believe the NHS can pick this up. That is why we exist.”

Funding options

The mental health issues that veterans experience include depression, anxiety and PTSD. Thankfully, the 6% of veterans with PTSD still have the charity PTSD Resolution to turn to. However, veterans with other mental health concerns will now either have to rely on the NHS or consider going private. Private care can be costly, but veterans with physical disabilities that are eligible for compensation may find these funds help.

The severity of the disability, along with whether the veteran can work or not, usually plays a role in how much compensation is awarded. Veterans that require urgent mental health assistance should, therefore, consider using their compensation to cover the cost of private mental health treatment, which may include psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), or complementary and alternative therapies, rather than endure a lengthy wait for help from the NHS.

While it’s reassuring that veterans in need of mental health aid can still obtain help despite Combat Stress being unable to provide it, veterans that have previously used the service are disappointed by the recent news. Speaking to ITV, Paul Smith, a veteran with PTSD said, “Basically, Combat Stress gave me the tools to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You never get through PTSD, but they gave me my life back.”

Meanwhile, war veteran and councillor Thomas Janke says that he’d like to see the Government buy Combat Stress’s empty facilities, such as the one in Audley Court, Shropshire so that vital mental health care can continue to be provided.

The mental health of thousands of veterans is at risk as a result of Combat Stress having to deny giving treatment to any new referrals. Mental Health is a serious issue among veterans, and many have now called for the UK Government to take immediate action to stop their mental health from declining even further. [IDN-InDepthNews – 12 March 2020]

Photo source: How a special forces ‘band of brothers’ culture leads to civilian deaths in war. Credit. Pexels

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top