Following the announcement of an additional £10 million of funding for Veterans’ mental health, General Sir John McColl, Chairman of Cobseo, The Confederation of Service Charities, said:
“Today’s announcement in the Budget committing to further support for the mental health and wellbeing of ex-Serving Personnel is a welcomed demonstration of the government’s ongoing aim to do better for Veterans. The Service Charity Sector has long provided support and services for Serving and ex-Serving Personnel and their families alongside, and some cases, in lieu of, Government, and this additional £10 million will help to provide the vital support that some Veterans require after their service.
“Throughout the pandemic, we know that there has been an increase in requests from our Members for mental health support. In the Cobseo membership survey undertaken in October last year, our Members reported a 74% increase in beneficiary demand for mental health support and a 70% increase in loneliness support. Unfortunately, we anticipate that this will not only continue as we all work our way out of recent lockdowns, but as other government assistance schemes end, we fear that requests for mental health support will continue to rise. Mental health is a multifaceted complex field that requires the input of many different agencies and programmes to ensure the best possible future for Veterans, and we look forward to working with the government to further implement this crucial package of support.
“45% of Cobseo Members reported that the pandemic has had significant impact on their critical mental health services whilst 72% reported a decrease in monthly income with 25% reporting a reduction in service delivery likely to become a reality within one year. These figures highlight a stark reality that we all must acknowledge; Veterans’ need is increasing whilst charities’ funding is decreasing. This funding is an important and positive step towards promoting and protecting Veterans’ mental health and wellbeing, but stable and consistent ongoing funding is essential to enable the sector to continue supporting Veterans, and for these programmes to be truly successful, they must run alongside properly resourced clinical support.
“This announcement is a positive and necessary step towards providing the Service Charity Sector with the funding it needs to provide successful and positive futures for Veterans and their families in honour of the contributions they have made to the nation. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Defence, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, and the NHS to continue providing the mental health and wellbeing support some Veterans need, and to really demonstrate how the UK is the best place to be a Veteran.”