Suicide prevention and the military community

On Armed Force Day (Saturday 24 July), we recognise and value the contribution, commitment, and sacrifice of the armed forces community.

As celebratory events take place across the country, we want to also take the opportunity to talk about the importance of supporting the wellbeing of the armed forces community and share some resources that can help.

By understanding some of the existing challenges as well as tools and resources that can help make a difference, you can make a difference.

Here are some of the facts:

  • One in eight UK armed forces were seen in military healthcare for a mental health related reason (Ministry of Defence, 2022).
  • One in five ex-service personnel have a mental illness. The most common are alcohol problems, depression, and anxiety (Centre for Mental Health, 2023).
  • In recent years, suicide rates among army males aged 20 to 24 have remained significantly higher than the UK general population (Ministry of Defence, 2022).
  • Sadly 1,086 veterans took their own lives between 1996 and 2018 (Ministry of Defence, 2019) 

Suicide awareness training to support veterans

In Great Britain, there are an estimated two million UK veterans (Ministry of Defence, 2019). 

Research carried out by YouGov on behalf of Help for Heroes revealed*:

  • 1 in 3 veterans have felt suicidal in their lifetime*
  • Veterans who are struggling with suicidal thoughts are more likely to turn to family and friends for support than a trained professional*
  • Veterans who are struggling, are less likely to ask for help than those who have not served in the Armed Forces*

In 2022, we worked with Help for Heroes to develop a suicide awareness training aimed at supporting veterans.

The training takes approximately 30 minutes and includes real stories, scenarios and signposting resources and you’ll receive a certificate on completion.

Take the training today and show your support for the Armed Forces community be sharing it on our social media and making more people aware of the training.

*Research conducted by YouGov Plc into mental health and suicide in the GB adult population and the Armed Forces Community. July 2022, total sample size of 8346 adults.

**Ministry of Defence (2019)

Support services


The SANE helpline offers emotional support and information for anyone affected by mental health problems and can help those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Call 0300 304 7000 for free or email Open daily from 4pm to 10pm.

Find out more from the SANE website

Combat Stress

Combat Stress offer a helpline for former service men and women dealing with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

Call 0800 138 1619 for free, text 07537 173 683 or email Open 24 hours a day, every day.

Find out more from the Combat Stress website.


SSAFA offer a free, confidential support line which provides practical, financial, and emotional support for service personnel, veterans and their families.

Call 0800 260 6767 or use the online live chat. Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Find out more from the SSAFA website.

Veterans Gateway

Veterans Gateway provide 24/7 support for veterans seeking advice for housing, mental wellbeing, finance, employment and living independently. 

Call 0808 802 1212 free, text 81212 or email via the website. To browse and search for support, visit the Veterans Gateway self-help page.

Find out more from the Veterans Gateway website.