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Senior military commanders urge nation to support our new campaign

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Today we can reveal that we have seen a 44% increase in new referrals from veterans over the last three years seeking our specialist mental health treatment, with a 16% increase in the last year alone. We are now launching a major campaign, For many, the battle continues, to raise awareness of the rapidly growing demand for treatment.  

Our campaign is backed by senior military commanders who have written a letter to the nation urging the public to strengthen mental health provision for veterans by supporting Combat Stress, warning that without long-term financial support there could be dire consequences for veterans’ access to our specialist treatment. 

Signed by eight military figures, including our President General Sir Peter Wall, Admiral Sir George Zambellas and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the letter is believed to be the first time so many former senior military figures have collectively called on the nation to act during peacetime. 

A new poll that we commissioned this year uncovered a major lack of public awareness about veterans’ mental health. Conducted by YouGov, it found the majority of the public believes veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts will have already completed their PTSD treatment by 2024 (if required), while just 6.8% of the public believes veterans wait more than 10 years before seeking mental health treatment.  

On average veterans wait 13 years after leaving the military before seeking our help. With operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ending over a decade ago, it means demand for our services is set to grow.  

President of Combat Stress General Sir Peter Wall said:  

“Military service is vital for the country and it’s a highly rewarding and commendable career. However, a small minority of those who serve are left with complex mental health challenges. It's our responsibility as a nation to ensure specialist treatment and support is available to veterans so they can recover as soon as possible - to do otherwise is utterly negligent.  

“Combat Stress has seen a 44% rise in demand for its specialist mental health services in three years alone.  We are facing a rapidly growing need for our treatment, and we are doing so under a challenging economic climate where the cost of living has impacted our finances. We need the public’s support in strengthening mental health provision for those who have served our country. Sadly, without the necessary funding for specialist charities like Combat Stress, many veterans will be left to deteriorate until it’s too late. For many the battle continues."  

This year we expect to spend £15 million delivering our specialist services to veterans across the UK, drawing on our reserves to make up for the impact the cost of living and inflation have had on our finances. Long-term we must grow our income to meet the rapidly rising demand for treatment.   

We are appealing to the nation and the public to provide long-term funding for what is a long-term issue. By giving financial support or fundraising for us, you will save lives and families. To help, and to read the letter in full, visit