Focus On: Armed Forces Charities' Mental Health Provision

What is the purpose of the report? 

As with all members of society, our life experiences can affect our mental health, and the armed forces community is no exception to this. British military personnel face unique occupational risks and some require specific mental health services tailored to their needs.

Armed forces charities play an important role in providing mental health support to the armed forces community. Yet, prior to DSC’s research, little data had been gathered on these charities. This report provides the first comprehensive overview of the subsector of armed forces charities providing mental health support.

What does it cover?

As part of the Focus On series, this report provides more specific analysis of the work of armed forces charities across the UK – in this case, armed forces charities providing mental health support.

In this report, we examine provision made across three areas of mental health: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, and substance misuse. It is acknowledged that other mental health issues exist; however, the above topics were chosen according to the prevalence of charities reporting on supporting these common areas.

The report aims to provide the reader with:

  • Exploration of mental health support offered by charities
  • Insights into the beneficiary population
  • Assessment of expenditure on mental health provision
  • Collaboration, evaluation and standards of practice

In addition, the report includes several case studies to demonstrate the work undertaken to provide mental health support.

Who is it for?

This is a unique resource for charities, practitioners, government, policymakers and researchers to understand what armed forces charities do to support members of the armed forces community with mental health.

What did we find?

  • This research identified 76 armed forces charities in the UK which clearly provide mental health.
  • The most common provision is for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with over three-quarters (75%) of charities providing such support.
  • Counselling services were the most commonly provided service.
  • Less than one-fifth (18.4%) of charities provide a clinical service (services administered by a registered healthcare professional).
  • Armed forces charities providing mental health support currently serve in the region of 7,000-10,000 beneficiaries per year.
  • Relatively few charities which deliver mental health services themselves report implementing or working towards common guidelines or standards.

What did people say?

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive Forces in Mind Trust: ‘It is only right that we invest in credible, independent evidence, such as this report, so that our efforts and resources are deployed where they are most needed, and where they can have the greatest positive effect.’

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