Defence chiefs praise Mail on Sunday’s campaign to launch 24/7 mental health hotline for Armed Forces troops
- Since the helpline opened on February 25, 2018 it has received 2,000 calls
- Army saw a 16 per cent fall in soldiers quitting due to mental health problems
- MoD mandarins had previously blocked bids for such a helpline for troops
Defence chiefs have praised The Mail on Sunday after this newspaper’s campaign to launch a 24/7 mental health hotline for members of the Armed Forces led to significant falls in the numbers of troops forced to leave their jobs due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other conditions.
The number of servicemen and women medically discharged due to mental health problems was sharply down in 2018/19 across the Army and the Royal Navy, while the Royal Air Force saw a 24 per cent fall in resignations triggered by these issues.
The reductions follow the introduction of the first-ever round-the-clock helpline for vulnerable troops, which was launched early last year after an eight-week campaign by The Mail on Sunday.
Defence chiefs have praised the Mail on Sunday’s campaign to launch a 24/7 mental health hotline. Former Army medic Chantelle Taylor, pictured on the frontline in Afghanistan, backed calls for a 27-hour helpline for serving troops suffering from PTSD
It won the backing of military families, retired top brass such as General the Lord Dannatt, Gulf War ‘Top Gun’ John Nichol and Chantelle Taylor, the first British woman to kill in combat.
Together, we persuaded MoD mandarins to change their minds after they previously blocked bids for such a helpline on the basis that hardly any troops would call it. They were wrong.
Since the long-overdue helpline opened on February 25, 2018, it has received 2,000 calls and has speeded up the process of personnel getting the medication and counselling they require.
From April 2018 to April 2019, the Army saw a 16 per cent fall in soldiers quitting due to mental health problems. Over the same period, RAF troops signing off due to mental disorders fell by 24 per cent.
Since the helpline opened on February 25, 2018, it has received 2,000 calls (file picture)
Meanwhile, mental health-attributed discharges from the Royal Navy fell by seven per cent.
The free helpline – on 0800 323 4444 – is funded by the Government and run with the charity Combat Stress.
Last night, a spokesman said: ‘Our helpline, launched following a campaign by The Mail on Sunday, ensures there is a secure, confidential place for our people to turn to.
‘No one should suffer in silence and we encourage anyone in need to speak to our medical specialists.’