New Relevant Information
Mental Health in the UK Armed Forces Quality Report - updated 30 July 2015
The Armed Forces JSNA focuses on military personnel, veterans, reservists and their dependents. For the purpose of the JSNA ‘veterans’ were classed as ex-service personnel who served at any time and irrespective of length of service.
There are four Armed Forces bases in Cambridgeshire - Bassingbourn (RAF/Army), Waterbeach (Army), Brampton/Wyton (RAF) and Alconbury (USAF). As at 1 January 2013 there were 1,240 Armed Forces personnel located in Cambridgeshire; 70% Army, 28% Royal Air Service and 2% Naval Service. Two thirds of personnel live in South Cambridgeshire, with a further 31% living in Huntingdonshire and 2% in Cambridge City.
In general, there are poor data to quantify the number and demographics of veterans in Cambridgeshire, a picture also seen nationally. There is a variety of reasons for this, such as no central data collection, a perceived stigma by veterans leading to poor access of services and ex-service personnel not considering themselves to be a veteran, especially in younger personnel. However, national prevalence estimates suggest that there are between 54,000 and 58,000 veterans living in Cambridgeshire, including 9,000 reservists. 60% of veterans are aged over 65, due to compulsory national service for men which continued until 1960. There will be a Census 2011 Armed Forces release in the spring of 2013, which will provide a wealth of data on existing service personnel, but not veterans.
Whilst the Armed Forces have specific needs many of these are also seen within the general population. For example, mental health disorders are relatively high within the veteran population but are also an issue for the general population, with the required services and treatments likely to be similar for both groups. However, specific needs for veterans need to be taken into consideration, such as their vulnerability to access services.
Cambridgeshire has an Armed Forces Covenant Board that aims to improve the outcomes and life choices of military personnel, reservists, their families and veterans living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The Covenant Board also aims to enhance the relationship between the civilian and military communities.
In Cambridgeshire there are other Joint Strategic Needs Assessments that cover many of the key inequalities experienced by veterans, such as risk of homelessness and mental health. Table 7, in the full report, The Matrix of Military personnel, reservists, veterans and dependents (AF) against Covenant Board Action Plan and Current JSNAs shows the relationship between the key inequalities, the current JSNA’s and the Covenant Board’s action plan. This triangulation provides an action plan for the priority needs of military personnel, reservists, veterans and dependents in Cambridgeshire.
Armed Forces personnel are being urged to talk about issues that are worrying them via a social media website.bigwhitewall.com is a free online space where serving personnel, veterans and their families can talk about what’s troubling them and get help and support in a safe environment whenever they need it.
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