09 November 2023

Number of veterans seeking help for issues with drugs, alcohol and mental health sharply increase

News@2X (2)

Today national charity WithYou releases new data showing an increase in the number of serving individuals and veterans in treatment increased by 57% between April 2021 and June 2023*. In addition, the number of veteran family members accessing in-person services has gone up by 77%.

With veterans already overrepresented amongst people struggling with drugs and alcohol, the new data serves as a reminder that for some, the transition to civilian life can be difficult.

Commenting on new data and the importance of supporting veterans, Andy Craze, Armed Forces Programme Coordinator at WithYou, said:

“While many people transition from military to civilian life well, for some, it can be a huge challenge.

“A career in the military is much more than just a job — it’s a way of life. It’s the discipline, the comradeship, and the pride that we take in the job that we do. Over time, the culture of the military becomes symbiotic with your own identity. This means that when someone leaves the forces, they may feel like they’re not just changing their job, but that they’re also leaving behind a little bit of who they are.

“For some, this loss of identity is then compounded by the practical challenges that leaving the military can bring. For example, some people may find that their professional expertise does not easily translate to a role outside of the military and so find it difficult to enter employment, while others may struggle to find housing after moving out of military accommodation.”

Explaining further, Andy said:

“Accessing appropriate support can be difficult, especially without identifying the specific needs. During this time of year, there is often a surge in veterans seeking assistance for drug, alcohol and mental health support, and we work diligently to guide them through treatment. It's worth noting that our data indicates significant increases in veterans seeking help, evidenced by spikes in inquiries and a growing number of veterans and serving personnel accessing our confidential online chat service. Supporting those who have served and who are still serving in the UK is crucial, it not only honours their service and sacrifices, it gives us the opportunity to help them and address their needs. This is nothing more than they deserve.“

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