News : Soaring Numbers of British Troops Using Confidential Helpline
London, UK, March 28, 2016 -- The number of serving troops that are seeking help from a confidential helpline has boomed, according to an Armed Forces charity.
According to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), 85 per cent more serving members of Britain’s front line used Forcesline.
The helpline was set up by the charity and came at the request of the British Army following the the deaths of four young army recruits at Deepcut Barracks.
According to figures, the helpline received 21,983 requests for help last year, a six per cent increase on 2014.
However, they received 3,000 calls from serving personnel, a huge rise from the 1,600 the year before.
The confidential helpline is run entirely independently from the chain of command.
Air Vice Marshal David Murray, chief executive of the SSAFA said there was "reason for concern" that current troops are confiding in the helpline and not their own command.
He said: "Those who serve in our Armed Forces are by their very nature resilient characters. They are then trained to be the most robust versions of themselves, so for some, asking for help can be a real challenge.
"Therefore, the increase in the number of troops coming to SSAFA for help, although not a cause for panic, is reason for concern."
The SSAFA chief said the "grin and bear it" attitude in camps is still strong despite the revealing statistics.
He said: "It is interesting that the service men and women who are contacting us are choosing to come to SSAFA, rather than their own chain of command, as the 'grin and bear it' attitude within the serving community remains strong.
"Thankfully, dreadful and heart breaking images of dead and injured servicemen and women being repatriated from overseas no longer dominate the front pages.
SSAFA has a network of 7,000 volunteers providing support for serving personnel, elderly veterans and young veterans struggling to cope with the transition from military to civilian life.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "The Government is absolutely committed to the wellbeing of our Armed Forces and provides a wide range of support both during and after service."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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