Mental health and armed forces charities call for more research into the impact of mental ill health on Armed Forces families

Unsung Heroes examines the services already in place for families

Armed Forces families must be better supported to deal with the emotional and psychological impact of deployment, according to a report released today by Centre for Mental Health.

The report, Unsung Heroes, also calls for urgent research into alcohol misuse, domestic violence and the impact of mental health problems on the partners and children of Service personnel and veterans.

The report, which is supported by The Royal British Legion and the veteran’s mental health charity Combat Stress, argues that while progress is being made to address the psychological needs of Service personnel and veterans themselves, the practical and emotional impact on their partners and children must also be taken into consideration.

Unsung Heroes examines the services already in place for families and identifies areas where more evidence, about both the need for services to support families and the effectiveness of these services is needed.

Sean Duggan, chief executive at Centre for Mental Health said today: “Our most pressing concern is the paucity of UK research into the emotional needs of armed forces families on the ‘home front’; which may mean that the needs of many families are going unmet.

“There is a very substantial body of research that highlights concern about the levels of alcohol use within the UK Armed Forces, yet little evidence about the impact of alcohol misuse on their families. It’s vital that this kind of research is undertaken as soon as possible and that we evaluate the existing support to ensure that Service families get the help they need.”

Sue Freeth, Director of Health and Welfare at the Royal British Legion said: “The Royal British Legion welcomes this latest research which is vital in being able to meet the needs of in-service and ex-serving personnel, but also their families. These findings are supported by our own case work experience. Ensuring families receive joined up information, advice care, and support so they do not experience any disadvantage is vital.”

Peter Poole, Director of Strategy, Policy & Performance at Combat Stress said: “Combat Stress specialises in working with Veterans with mental health problems – providing crucial treatment, supporting the Veteran in his or her recovery and helping them return to normal life. The report recognises the vital role that families can play in aiding their loved one’s treatment and recovery from mental ill-health and in providing a stable home environment for Serving personnel between deployments.”

Advice and support

If you need advice and support call Legion line, the telephone helpline from the Royal British Legion, open to everyone, 9am – 4pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays.

Call 08457 725 725 (local rate)

http://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/news/2012_unsung_heroes.aspx

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