Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says:

“Forces in Mind Trust welcomes the announcement today of £10m of extra funding for veterans’ mental health, which is urgently needed – and the funding to support the digital and data strategy for Armed Forces charities. The priority must now be ensuring that the right support reaches the right people.

“We know that veterans’ mental health services are facing a critical increase in demand. A survey of members of Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) which we commissioned with the Directory of Social Change in October 2020 found that, whilst 60% of respondents reported an increase in beneficiary numbers since May, the greatest change was for mental health support, where demand increased by 74%. Meanwhile, 72% of Service charities reported a decrease in monthly income. While the Armed Forces Community has taken on a vital supporting role during the pandemic, we must now ensure that we support current and former Service personnel with their mental health.

“By increasing funding for veteran-specific mental health services, Government is helping to ensure that there is sufficient expertise, awareness and understanding of the sometimes unique health and care needs of ex-Service personnel. Today’s announcement is an important step in ensuring that all ex-Service personnel and their families are able to access good quality health services when and where they need them. We look forward to seeing the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust distributing funding to areas of greatest need, where our work can provide clear direction. In addition, we call upon the NHS to continue to develop its excellent and increasing support to veterans, who are first and foremost civilians.

“The funding for the digital and data strategy will deliver the improved collaboration we at FiMT have been advocating and enabling since we were founded. It is an opportunity to have a transformational effect on the whole Armed Forces Charity sector, and we were delighted to have been at the forefront of Cobseo’s initiative to secure the necessary seed-corn funding.”