David McWilliam

Partner, Solicitor and Head of Personal Injury & Sports Law

DATE PUBLISHED: 13 Dec 2021 LAST UPDATED: 06 Feb 2024

Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Armed Forces

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our psychological, emotional and social wellbeing and can be affected by life experiences or trauma.  Due to the unique pressures that life in the Services can bring, mental illness, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety can occur within military personnel and veterans.  Mental illness can be a serious and disabling condition, and the Ministry of Defence’s policy is that this is recognised and dealt with appropriately through education, training and specialist care, therefore reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

Statistics from the Armed Forces Mental Health Annual Summary show that in 2020/2021, 1 in 10 UK Armed Forces personnel were seen in military healthcare for mental health reasons.  This is a decrease from 2019/2020 due to the reduction in some routine and training exercises throughout the pandemic.  PTSD in the Armed Forces remains low and occurs in approximately 1 in 1,000 personnel.

Annual Mental Fitness Brief

In October 2021, to coincide with World Mental Health Day, the UK Ministry of Defence launched the Annual Mental Fitness Brief (AMFB). The purpose of the AMFB is to help Service personnel to understand mental health, find out where to seek help and learn how to increase resilience and mental fitness.  The programme is mandatory and is available to all Service personnel.  The programme is designed to take place annually and includes information personnel can use to access support services.  This is a positive step in raising awareness of mental health issues in the Armed Forces.

Where to seek help

There are a number of platforms available to Armed Forces personnel and veterans and their families to help to overcome mental ill health.  One such platform is Combat Stress, which is a registered charity and helped around 14,000 former servicemen and women last year.  This is a 24 hour service, 7 days a week which is available in person, online and via the telephone.  It is a free service.  Combat Stress provide treatment and support for former and serving personnel and their families with mental health issues relating to their military service.

Togetherall  is an anonymous, clinically managed and safe online community designed to improve the mental health of personnel, veterans and their families.  This is available 24 hours per day 7 days per week and is a community where serving personnel and veterans and their families can have free access to talk to each other and get support.

Personnel can also contact the Samaritans or telephone the NHS 111 helpline which is available at all times to Armed Forces personnel.

How can we help?

If you have an enquiry regarding a mental illness sustained as a result of Service in the Armed Forces, or feel that you may have a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, please contact our experienced team of solicitors on 01202 525333 or email david.mcwilliam@ellisjones.co.uk for a free specialist consultation.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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