Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Mental Health Support

Mike Wood: What steps he is taking to improve mental health support for members of the armed forces and veterans.

 

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence works with a range of partners to ensure that service personnel and veterans receive the best mental health support possible. There has been a comprehensive overhaul of our approach to mental health, as I mentioned earlier, with our mental health and wellbeing strategy. However, I stress that the number of mental health cases dealt with in the armed forces is smaller than in the general civilian population.

 

Mike Wood: Mental health problems place a great strain on relationships, while family breakdown can worsen mental health issues. Will the Minister ensure that mental health support extends to service personnel families, with a particular focus on providing support to keep military families together?

 

Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is often not the person themselves who steps forward to recognise there is a mental health concern, but the partner, or the husband or wife, a family member or maybe a comrade in their unit. It is important that we provide the necessary support, which we are doing. It is a very macho environment, and unfortunately there has been a stigma attached to putting one’s hand up and saying there is issue, but we are moving forward, not just in society but in the armed forces, in challenging that.