Veteran Support Helpline Launched

Veterans with mental health problems will get targeted support from today with the launch of the new Combat Stress Support Helpline, being delivered by Rethink Mental Illness and funded by the Government.

Health Minister Simon Burns today unveiled a new 24-hour freephone helpline number, 0800 138 1619, to help veterans and their families access expert advice from people trained and experienced in dealing with ex-Service men and women and their often complex mental health needs.

The Government is giving £200,000 to fund the running of a one year pilot of the helpline. This reinforces the Government's commitment to support the health needs of all UK veterans. The helpline, announced in October 2010, was supported by Dr Andrew Murrison in his review into the provision of mental health services for veterans. The Department of Health has nominated the charities Combat Stress and Rethink Mental Illness, both leaders in their respective fields of supporting veterans and those with a mental illness, to run the service together.

Health Minister Simon Burns said: "This funding will provide veterans and their families with a service that will help and support them whenever and wherever they need it. This is part of our commitment to deliver the best possible health outcomes to veterans.

"We are working with Combat Stress to ensure that veterans and their families can get free and impartial advice. The helpline, delivered by Rethink Mental Illness, will provide mental health support to help deal with issues that can seriously blight so much of their lives.

"This is also a great example of how the expertise of charities can be used to foster a stronger and healthier society."


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