The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has outlined how the extra money announced in the budget will help veterans. Much of the focus is on the mental health needs of former service personnel, with an extra £10 million being spent. The MOD’s been under pressure to do more, after a spate of suicides among veterans. The package of measures includes a new outreach service by the Veterans’ Gateway helpline and support for a new initiative with service charity SSAFA. 16,000 Calls Under the trial, the Gateway will now proactively call veterans to check in with them to see how they are and to tell them where they can get support, particularly for mental health needs. Since being set up last year, the Veterans’ Gateway has already received over 16,000 calls, signposting ex-forces personnel to the wide range of support available, including the medical care in the NHS. Support Group Money is also going to SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) to promote a new support group for bereaved families. This provides specialist help and advice to families who have lost a loved one to suicide, including through the Joint Casualty and Compassion Centre, which provides practical advice to families who are experiencing bereavement. Increase Awareness There will also be an increased commitment to studying the causes of death – including suicide – amongst service personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. This follows similar studies for veterans of the Falklands and Gulf conflicts. The MOD is also looking at ways to increase the awareness of veterans’ issues among GPs and the worlds of business, employment, finance and leisure. One Too Many Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “As we mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, it’s absolutely vital that we remain resolute in our support for those who have served our country so well. “We must never forget the sacrifices they have made. “So I am determined that the Ministry of Defence does all that we can to ensure those who struggle after serving their country are properly supported. “One death through mental health issues is one too many.”