Skip to main content

Armed Forces: Mental Health Services

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has made to provide support for soldiers with mental health problems following active service in Iraq. (306949)

MOD takes very seriously its responsibility to provide high-quality mental health care to its personnel. Diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders in members of the armed forces are performed by trained and accredited mental health personnel. In Iraq, we deployed uniformed mental health nurses to provide in-theatre care and treatment for our personnel. If personnel needed to leave the operational environment, then their care continued either on an out- or in-patient basis in the UK or their permanent base overseas.

In the UK, our mental health services for military personnel are configured to provide community-based mental health care, primarily through our 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) across the UK (plus centres overseas), which provide out-patient mental health care. The DCMH mental health teams, comprising psychiatrists, mental health nurses, clinical psychologists and mental health social workers, have particular expertise in treatments for psychological injury.

For the relatively small number of military patients who need it, in-patient care is currently provided by a group of seven NHS trusts located throughout England and Scotland, led by South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT) through a central MOD contract.