Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has been told armed forces personnel will be given mandatory mental health training after she raised the issue in parliament.
Caroline, who is a patron to the Military Preparation College, has long campaigned for better mental health provision in the military and yesterday in the Commons she asked defence minister Johnny Mercer: “With the number of combat roles set to increase, does my honourable friend agree that now is the time to invest in our people, and most specifically in support for mental health resilience, hardware and cyber, so that our troops are prepared in every sense of the word to do the important work that they need to do.”
In reply the minister said: “Over the past two years, we have made a real effort to completely redesign the mental health care provision for our armed forces personnel, both during their time in service and when they leave.
“I am delighted to confirm for the first time that this country’s armed forces will receive mandatory mental health training every year from 1 April next year. I pay tribute to the service chiefs who have led the way on this significant policy change.”
Speaking afterwards Caroline added: “Our armed forces do incredible work but the danger involved is an occupational hazard with resulting issues around mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder. This means we have an important duty of care.
“I am delighted by this move to make mental health training annual and mandatory and it now moves our armed forces firmly into the position where mental health resilience is on the same footing as physical fitness.”