AN INNOVATIVE strategy to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the Armed Forces, their families, veterans, and defence civilians has been launched. 

The Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2017-2022 builds on five years of research and aims to form a coordinated approach to prevent, detect and treat mental health and wellbeing issues, as well as introduce measures to promote the importance of mental health. 

The new strategy will include plans to: 

  • encompass all defence people – serving Armed Forces members (Regulars and Reserves), military families, veterans and MOD civil servants
  • introduce mental health and wellbeing education and training for all those working in defence
  • invest in research on resilience training to ensure that individuals are as mentally fit as they can be to prevent depression and anxiety and monitoring of groups who are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, such as combat troops and medical personnel in support of them
  • improve access to clinical assessment such as through digital delivery and prioritisation for treatment
  • develop partnerships with Service charities to continue anti-stigma campaigning initiatives and share best practice
  • improve communication about what help is on offer.

Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said: “A fitter force is a more effective force and keeping our people healthy helps keep this country safe. This new strategy recognises the importance of mental health, alongside physical injuries and will improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of mental health issues, which is vital to the wellbeing of our military.”

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For more about AFF’s work on mental health and wellbeing, visit

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