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Wednesday, 26 September 2018

MOD and Samaritans launch pocket support book for Armed Forces

A new pocket guide has been launched to help the Armed Forces spot and support those who may be struggling with their mental health and considering suicide.

The guide, jointly launched by Samaritans and the Ministry of Defence, gives advice on how to identify signs that someone may be having difficulties, suggests ways of offering support, and gives information on where help can be found.
The guide builds on the range of support already available to Service personnel who are struggling with their mental health, including access to specialist mental health care, training and education on good mental fitness.
Specifically designed to promote peer support amongst those serving, the guide champions “looking after your mates”, and covers:

* Identifying someone struggling to cope with mental health issues
* Understanding the complexity of suicide
* Knowing when to intervene, support and report
* Where to get further support, including the Samaritans service, whose volunteers are available any time, via phone and email or in person at the charity’s 201 branches, and the recently launched Combat Stress 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline.

Samaritans and the MOD have announced several joint initiatives to offer training and support to Serving personnel, veterans, and their families who are struggling with mental health issues.
The Samaritans programme has been funded by £3.5m of LIBOR money, and the guide is the latest part of this programme. A separate booklet is set to be launched for veterans, and the wider military community.
The next stage of the project will include the launch of other peer support tools, specially designed training courses for military personnel and a confidential webchat service. Training for Samaritans volunteers on how address mental health in a military environment will also be introduced.
The booklet will also help personnel spot signs that colleagues may be having suicidal thoughts and provides information on how such a situation should be approached, and where support is available.
The Ministry of Defence is now spending £220 million over the next decade to improve mental health services for personnel. In February of this year, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson also announced the establishment of a 24-Hour Mental Health Helpline for serving personnel and their families, funded by the MOD and run by the charity Combat Stress.

Click HERE to access the pocket guide