Our Chief Executive Sue Freeth has told the Defence Select Committee that the number of former servicemen and women seeking clinical mental health treatment will increase by a third over the next ten years, according to research by Kings College London.
She added that the rising demand for mental health services will make it increasingly difficult to treat veterans without government funding.
Sue appeared before the committee at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 27 November alongside David Richmond CBE, former Chairman of the Contact Group, and Tony Wright of Forward Assist. MPs questioned them on the current provision of veteran’s mental health services, as part of the committee’s Armed Forces and Veterans Mental Health inquiry.
In the wide-ranging hearing, Sue highlighted the evidence-based approach Combat Stress takes when designing its treatment programmes and explained how the charity regularly collects data from its veterans and their families in an effort to improve services. She went on to say that Combat Stress focuses its resources where there is measurable, demonstrative improvement in veteran’s wellbeing’ especially given the limited resources the charity has to work with.
Sue said “We expect to see a third more people with complex needs over the next 10 years. Without substantial further support, we will be asking the public to put their hand in their pocket, which is becoming increasingly difficult to do.”
In her concluding remarks, she emphasised how veteran’s mental health services have failed to keep pace with comparable physical health services.