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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Liberal Democrats pledge to double mental health investment for veterans

The Liberal Democrats have this morning pledged a £10m boost for servicemen and women suffering from mental health problems. It would more than double the money currently available to help veterans overcome problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Lib Dems say that the investment would also help provide a series of measures including assistance to get people back into work.

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said: "We ask our armed forces to put their lives on the line for our country. Therefore, it is only right that as a country we support them for life, whether they remain in the armed services or after they leave. The Liberal Democrats want to serve those who have served and ensure they get the right help."

Liberal Democrats will work with armed forces charities and homelessness charities to ensure veterans do not fall between the gaps in services, and get the help they need to get back on their feet.

The measures include:
  • Creating a veterans commissioner to knock heads together in DWP, the Department of Health and the MoD to get veterans the help they need.
  • Support for alcohol and drug misuse and ‘dual diagnosis’ of substance misuse and mental health problems.
  • Investment in services such as community based therapy, short stay hospital treatment, support through a telephone hotline and more targeted employment support.

Liberal Democrat General Election Campaign Chairman Paddy Ashdown said: "I know how much pressure there can be for soldiers on the front line. That’s why need more investment in mental health support for veterans. We also need to work closer with charities such as ‘Time to Change’ and ‘Veterans First’ to challenge stigma and ensure parity of esteem between mental and physical health."

"The Liberal Democrats are working towards a fairer society where everyone can reach their full potential." Lord Ashdown added.

The money will form part of the extra £3.5bn, which Lib Dems said in March would be spent on mental health care in England over the next parliament.