LONDON, October 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Combat Stress today praised the Prime Minister's commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Murrison report.

The Prime Minister's reiteration came during a visit today to Combat Stress's Tyrwhitt House short-stay treatment centre in Surrey, where he and Dr Murrison met with Veterans and toured the new wing of the centre.

Today's visit follows the Defence Secretary's pledge to immediately implement Dr Murrison's recommendations for a dedicated 24-hour support line for Veterans and the introduction of 30 mental health nurses in Mental Health Trusts across the country.

Dr Chai Patel, Chairman of the Combat Stress 3-year GBP30m fundraising drive 'The Enemy Within Appeal', said today:

We are delighted by the Prime Minister's commitment to take forward the recommendations of Dr Murrison's report. Combat Stress knows that it is vital for Government and military charities to work together to ensure Veterans can access services effectively and engage with the treatment provided.

The measures announced this week come at a time when the numbers of Veterans needing help is continuing to grow, and yet we know that Veterans wait on average 14 years before seeking Combat Stress's help. That's why we launched The Enemy Within Appeal earlier this year, which I hope will continue to be supported both by the public and politicians alike in order to ensure that Veterans get the support that they need, when and where they need it.

Notes for Editors

1. Combat Stress is the UK's leading military charity specialising in the care of Veterans' mental health. Many of the conditions we treat are highly complex and long term in nature.

2. We celebrated our 90th anniversary on 12 May 2009 - and have provided a vital lifeline to almost 100,000 ex-Service men and women from every campaign that British Forces have been involved in since the First World War.

3. We have a current caseload of more than 4,400 Veterans. This includes 102 who have served in Afghanistan and 400 who served in Iraq. The oldest Veteran receiving support from Combat Stress is 103 and the youngest was just 19 when admitted.

4. The majority are ex-Army: 82.1%

5. On average, it takes over 14 years from Service discharge for Veterans to make the first-step approach to Combat Stress for help, by which time their condition is often chronic. In 2009, six of our new Veterans had waited 50 years or more.

6. Other and co-existing mental health conditions include: depression, alcohol and/or drug abuse, mood disorders, anxiety and phobic disorders.

7. We provide a tailored treatment and care programme, based on the psychological, social and welfare needs of the individual. Our bespoke treatment plans range from brief therapy to chronic disease management.

8. Clinical treatment is delivered at our three short-stay centres in Shropshire, Surrey and Ayrshire. They provide a range of therapies within a unique, peer-group setting which provides a safe and familiar environment for Veterans.

9. The MOD and Department of Health are working increasingly closely with Combat Stress to ensure better treatment of Veterans with psychological injuries. On 11 January 2010 Combat Stress signed a partnership agreement with the MoD and the Department of Health, resulting in an overarching investment of GBP350,000. This will help fund Combat Stress staff to work directly with NHS mental health Trusts to ensure that the services they provide are accessible to and appropriate for military Veterans.

10. Funds raised through The Enemy Within Appeal (launched on 11 March 2010) will put in place a national network of Community Outreach Teams, to enable Veterans and their families to receive support and treatment within their own communities, whilst continuing to provide short-stay residential treatment in any one of the charity's three existing regional treatment centres.

11. Each community outreach team will consist of a Regional Welfare Officer, a Welfare Support Team member, a Clinical Psychiatric Nurse, a Therapist and access to a regional psychiatrist/psychologist, all of which will provide welfare support, primary assessment, on-going treatment and group therapy, as well as vital support for the family too.

SOURCE: Combat Stress

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