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Helping veterans a "priority" - PM

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that helping veterans experiencing mental health difficulties is a priority

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Mr Cameron was speaking as he visited a centre in Surrey which was set up by charity Combat Stress and helps ex-servicemen and women suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

The visit follows Defence Secretary Liam Fox’s announcement of new services for veterans, including a 24-hour helpline and additional mental health nurses.

The PM said:

It is a priority to do more to help the mental health issues that veterans in our country have. The fact is, for many people the mental scars that they have from the time they have served can actually be as serious as or sometimes even worse than the physical scars and we need to take it much more seriously as a country.

So I’m delighted that we are announcing extra mental health nurses out in the community. We are also announcing a 24-hour helpline so that people can always get hold of help when they need it and also it’s important to stress that we are going to work with organisations like Combat Stress that do brilliantly in helping those who bear the mental scars from their service in our armed forces.

During his tour of the centre, Mr Cameron spoke to veterans taking part in activities such as art to help manage their conditions and helped a group making poppies for Remembrance Sunday.

Combat Stress currently helps about 4,400 ex-servicemen and women at its three treatment centres in the UK.

Read more about the announcement on the Ministry of Defence’s website.

Published 8 October 2010