30/04/2013

Ex-Military To Receive Mental Health Training

Former military personnel and their families are to be offered training to help veterans experiencing mental health problems.

Up to 6,400 ex-soldiers, sailors, airmen and their families will receive the training, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter announced on Tuesday.

The course will provide the skills and knowledge to teach the mental health equivalent of first aid skills.

According to the Department of Health, it will train people to:

- spot the early signs of mental health problems

- feel confident helping someone who is experiencing a problem

- provide help on a first aid basis

- help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others

- help stop a mental health problem from getting worse

- help someone to recover faster

- guide someone to the right support

- reduce the stigma of mental health problems.

£600,000 is being committed from the LIBOR fund – fines levied on the banks for attempting to manipulate the LIBOR interest rate – towards the training.

It is expected that 200 veterans, their families and people who support them will be trained over the next 18 months, and will then go on to train around 6,200 members of the Armed Forces community by the summer of 2015.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "Members of our Armed Forces make a huge sacrifice in serving our country and they deserve the highest quality healthcare and support.

"We know that making the transition from a tour of duty back into civilian life can be difficult for some people. We are determined to ensure that care is there for those who are struggling.

"Training veterans and their families to spot the signs that someone is suffering from mental health problems is a vital first step in them getting the help they need and talking openly about their experiences."

Peter Poole, Director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships at Combat Stress, said: "On average, veterans contact Combat Stress 13 years after they leave the Armed Forces. Mental Health First Aid Training will create opportunities for help to reach veterans sooner. Getting Veterans the help that they need and deserve, as soon as possible, can keep families together and save lives."

(IT/CD)

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