SSAFA reports 11% increase in calls to Forcesline. The first half of 2018 saw more than 14,000 calls or emails being made to Forcesline, SSAFA’s free helpline, from the Armed Forces community. This represents a significant 11% rise in contact compared to last year.
Debt is one of the main reasons for serving and veteran service men and women reaching out to Forcesline for support. Changes and reassessments of those eligible for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have meant that many veterans and their families who were already struggling to live on low incomes are now being cut to the bone.
- Recent research from SSAFA found 87% of veterans helped by SSAFA had experienced financial problems since leaving the Armed Forces
- The average net household income of those surveyed was less than £17,000 per year
- As a result, 79% of veterans surveyed said they struggled to make ends meet at the end of the month
If concerns are not addressed early, problems around finances, employment and mental health can escalate to a stage where more drastic intervention is necessary. As mental health campaigns become more prominent in the media, SSAFA is seeing an increasing number of calls to Forcesline from people dealing with negative and suicidal thoughts.
Forcesline advisors are closely supported and trained so they can best deal with these types of calls. Advisors also have monthly sessions with an external counsellor to help process any ongoing issues. Bill Grant, Forcesline Manager at SSAFA, says:
“Despite the concerning increase in the number of calls to Forcesline, it is reassuring that the Armed Forces community feels comfortable contacting our service for support. It’s important to us that we always give our callers the space to talk through the challenges they are facing so we can best support them.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, a veteran or a family member of someone who has served and you are in need of practical, emotional or financial advice, we are here for you.”
SSAFA takes a tailored approach to meet the individual’s needs. A call to Forcesline can be the start of the journey and SSAFA is there to serve the Armed Forces family every step of the way. If you are a member of the Armed Forces, veteran or a family member in need, contact Forcesline, which is independent from the chain of command, on 0800 731 4880.