South Leicestershire MP, Alberto Costa, raised the issue of mental health care for veterans across the East Midlands in the House of Commons during Defence Questions on Monday afternoon (20th May).
Alberto asked the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence – People and Veterans, The Rt. Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, what assessment he had made of the mental health care services for veterans in his South Leicestershire constituency and the wider region.
The Rt. Hon Tobias Ellwood MP replied, “Part of the purpose of Mental Health Awareness Week was to raise awareness of where veterans can seek help. As I touched on earlier, every regional NHS authority must have a transition, intervention and liaison service programme in place. What we need to do better is communicating that to our veterans so that when they are down in a very dark place they know where help can be found. We are working with the charities on that to make sure we can further improve the communication.
Alberto said, “I was really delighted to raise this tremendously important matter with the Minister in the Commons on Monday. Veterans across South Leicestershire and the East Midlands have given so much for their country and therefore deserve the highest quality physical and mental health care. Many veterans will have experienced immensely distressing situations, and it is incumbent on the Government to ensure that their mental health is prioritised and that there are sufficient services in place to provide the assistance many will require”.
Alberto added, “I have had the pleasure of regularly visiting the Royal British Legion branches in South Leicestershire as well as the two Veterans Breakfast Clubs in Blaby and Lutterworth - these organisations play a hugely important role in the aftercare of veterans, providing a friendly and relaxed environment where veterans can be among friends. However state services must go hand in hand with these voluntary organisations to ensure veterans, not only in South Leicestershire and the East Midlands, but across the country, have the support they both need and entirely deserve”.
Alberto is pictured above speaking in the House of Commons.