Defence Select Committee Armed Forces and veterans’ mental health hearing: Should the MOD do more to provide for veterans’ mental health?

The thrust of the Defence Select Committee hearing on Armed Forces and veterans' mental health on 12 January seemed to be that if Armed Forces personnel and veterans develop psychological injuries having been put in ‘harm’s way’ by the politicians that send them, then it is for the Armed Forces health providers (under the Defence and National Rehab Centre) to offer and coordinate help, not to leave it to an overstretched NHS and underfunded and complex weave of state and charity provision. This is particularly the case when charity incomes are dwindling (hence services threatened) and the NHS is leading the fight against the effects of COVID, and strengthened by research that indicates veterans seek to be treated within a system that understands them, their injuries, and the circumstances that cause them. Thoughts?

What makes leaving the armed forces different?

The military is often described as a 'self-contained social world'. It often implies a professional commitment far in excess of the traditional eight hours a day and five days a week, and usually involves toiling, sleeping and socialising with the same people – often in relative geographic isolation, during lengthy deployments, sometimes at short notice and habitually in extreme environments. With its ‘different ways of communicating and relating to others, different living arrangements, [...] and different standards of behaviour, dress, and bodily comportment’, it is often described as more of a life than a job.