A “world-class centre for the treatment of mental injuries” suffered by Service personnel should be established in the next 12-18 months, says a new Report by the House of Commons Defence Committee.

Read the report here.

Whilst the Committee says it previously found that the vast majority of veterans leave the Services with no ill-effects, the minority who do suffer from mental health conditions need timely and appropriate care. The Ministry of Defence and the four UK health departments have made improvements, over the past decade, including the introduction of some veteran-specific services.

Defence Committee member and Chair of the APPG for the Armed Forces Covenant, Ruth Smeeth MP, says:

“We acknowledge the work that the MOD and the UK health departments are doing to improve the mental health care provided to both serving personnel and veterans; but it is simply nowhere near enough.

Fundamental issues still clearly exist, with scandalously little funding allocated to veteran-specific services, and it is unacceptable that veterans and their families should feel abandoned by the state as a result. It is vital that veterans get the quality of care they need when they need it, no matter where they live, supported by a world-class national centre.

Only then will the Armed Forces communities believe that the promises made in the Covenant are not just hollow words.”

The report adds:

“The Committee is greatly concerned by the UK’s lack of Armed Forces’ family-specific specialist mental health care—even when the very limited contribution of the Armed Forces charity sector is included”, it states.

“The Committee is convinced of the need for a highly specialised place of safety to which veterans can be sent as soon as they are diagnosed, in order to be stabilised and to begin receiving assistance.”


  1. Hmm

    I work in the mental health and families world. This could end up being quite a mistake. Military personnel do of course experience mental health difficulties, and these are sometimes but certainly not always as a result of their military service.

    There is a very real risk that such a centre will inevitably focus on the unique aspects of experience and treatment and fail to appreciate broader issues. It runs the risk of being overly medicalised at a time when mental health thinking is at long last beginning to move in non medical directions.

    Instead of being world class, this runs the risk of entrenching views of mental health which are becoming outdated.

    Better would be to embed this within NHS services where it is at less risk of being left behind by changes.

    Of course, that being said, NHS mental health services are an underfunded mess and in need of substantial enhancement. But at least if that enhancement does ever happen (don’t hold your breath), services embedded within it will benefit.

    • While you have a good point about risking outdated thinking and practices, as you also said, NHS mental health services are poorly funded and it can take months just to get an initial appointment with a mental health specialist. Our serving men and women deserve far better than that, so on advantage of keeping this separate from the NHS and just for active/former military would be quicker waiting times and more than once per week/month appointment.

      • Everyone deserves better. That won’t be achieved by putting in piecemeal solutions for individual groups of people with mental health difficulties but by solving the issues that blight the entire system.

  2. when i left the army it took about ten years before i had a complete breakdown,lucky for me my gp spotted the symptoms of ptsd straight away,but the NHS at the time did not have the staff or the resources,the closest i got to a mental health councillor,who tried her level best but admitted she dealt with victims of rape and domestic abuse and she told me service personnel are going to struggle because there is just not staff who deal with combat mental health and that was only about 5 years ago


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