A helpline to give troops suffering from mental health problems round-the-clock support has been launched today. The MoD has pledged £20m over 10 years to fund the project.
The campaign for a specialist helpline was established by the Mail on Sunday after a soldier who served alongside Prince Harry committed suicide on New Year’s Day.
Royal Engineer Nathan Hunt had won bravery awards for identifying Taliban roadside bombs.
His mother Maria Hunt, 64, said of the new helpline: “It is fantastic news, I’m thrilled to bits. I am so glad that something good has come out of Nathan’s death.”
And his widow Lainey, 41, said: “This is brilliant news. Soldiers need someone to talk to. A lot of lads are put off talking to doctors and counsellors face-to-face, so the helpline will be very useful.”
The helpline will be operated by the charity Combat Stress. The service will run in conjunction with the charity’s veterans’ helpline, which the MoD also contributes to.
The new helpline – 0800 323 4444 – is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Mental illnesses caused by life on the battlefield can have a devastating impact on our brave heroes and their families,” said Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.