Chaos in Kabul threatens to plunge British veterans into mental health crises, ministers warned as they partnered with military charities to step up support for trauma.
Ben Wallace, Secretary of Defense, Sajid Javid, Secretary of Health, and Leo Docherty, Minister of Veterans Affairs, held a meeting with mental health experts and third sector leaders on Wednesday.
They recognized that the crisis could damage the mental health of former UK personnel who served in Afghanistan during the UK’s 20 years of operations.
Monitoring will be put in place by the Veterans Office (OVA) to measure the impact of recent events on veterans.
The question will be included in the fourth phase of a King’s College London cohort study on the health and well-being of veterans, which the OVA is funding.
The government will also work with the Forces in Mind Trust to examine how to bring together veterans who served in Afghanistan to support each other, following research suggesting veterans benefit from the “supportive fellowship” of those who can. relate to their experiences. .
Mr. Docherty called the situation in Afghanistan “very difficult” and said: “I understand why those in the veterans community who served there with such great distinction will be concerned.
“We will always be indebted for your sacrifice and you have played a key role in protecting this country from the threat of terrorism.”
He urged veterans who may find it difficult to access the specific range of support available.
Mr Javid acknowledged that participation in a conflict could “affect the physical and mental well-being of our ex-combatants”, adding: “The events currently unfolding in Afghanistan may have a negative impact on the mental health of those who are served there “.
He added, “I am committed to ensuring that our veterans can access the support they need. The NHS is already providing incredible mental health support to our veterans community, but I know there is more to do. “
Veterans seeking support should contact the Veterans Hotline or access the NHS ‘Op Courage’ service dedicated to the mental health and well-being of former staff, he said. -he declares.