Defence in the Media: Saturday 16 February 2019

Coverage of defence issues in the media today includes a report on the mental health of former service personnel and news of Prince Harry's visit to Norway as Captain General Royal Marines.

Mental health support for veterans

A report shown on BBC Breakfast and subsequently available on the BBC News website investigates the support available to current and former service personnel who are experiencing mental ill health.

The BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Beale asks how many veterans are taking their own lives, and whether former service personnel are given the mental health support they may need.

One veteran interviewed in the report explained how hard it was to reach out for help. He encourages any current or former service personnel to ask for support if they need it.

The report notes that the Ministry of Defence is stepping up research, support and funding for veterans' mental health. It also directs viewers to the Ministry of Defence's Veterans Gateway helpline.

A Government spokesperson said:

We take the mental wellbeing of our serving and former personnel extremely seriously, and urge anyone struggling to come forward and access the care they deserve.

The MOD has increased spending on mental health to £22 million a year, and the NHS has committed to expanding specialist health support for veterans across the country.

Prince Harry and the Royal Marines

HRH The Duke of Sussex has travelled to Norway to take part in Exercise Clockwork as Captain General Royal Marines. The exercise, now in its 50th year, allows service personnel to practice operating in the treacherous conditions of the Arctic Circle.

The Sun reports that the exercise enables armed forces personnel to practice providing aviation support to operations in temperatures as low as -30C. The paper also notes that the Royal Marines had decorated their makeshift shelter, dug out of the ice, with photos from Prince Harry's wedding in order to welcome him.

Lieutenant Colonel David West RM (Officer Commanding Exercise Clockwork) said:

We are celebrating 50 years of Exercise Clockwork today and are honoured to be able to welcome the Captain General of the Royal Marines to Bardufoss to mark the occasion.

Prince Harry is used to rigours of harsh climates and so will fully understand the dangers of trying to live and operate in such an extreme environment.  Clockwork continues to deliver vital training for our people.  It provides essential experience in flying and surviving in the extreme cold hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle.

For 50 years Commando Helicopter Force and its predecessors have operated in this region and the skills learnt here are more relevant than ever.

Image of the day

A medal worn without a clasp for service on Operation Shader
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced details of the eligible personnel who will receive a new medal to mark the campaign to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

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