The UKs Defence People Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy

The health (physical and mental) and wider well-being of Service personnel people contributes directly to operational capability and, as such, is a high priority.

The Chief of Defence People seeks to create the conditions for Service personnel to enjoy a level of health and well-being that maximises the capacity of people for work and this applies to all Defence employees, not just Service personnel for whom maintaining health and well-being is a major contributor to the moral and physical components of fighting power.

The Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2017-2022 was launched on 20 July 2017, with the previous strategy dating back to 2011.

One of its key strategic tasks is to ‘Optimise the health, well-being
and where appropriate, the fitness of Defence People to develop resilience and improve the health of the Whole Force’.

Studies into the behaviour of Service personnel reveal some poor lifestyle choices and the aim is to promote:

  • Healthier choices;
  • Positive behaviour; and
  • Better awareness through work on:
    • Alcohol and substance misuse;
    • Tobacco cessation;
    • Sexual health;
    • Weight management;
    • Nutrition; and
    • Fitness.

A separate Health and Well-being Strategy was published in July 2016 and this embraces all of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) work on lifestyles, mental health, injury prevention and preventive health.

A number of working groups have been set up to address elements of physical and mental well-being, such as:

  • Short term sickness;
  • Smoking cessation;
  • Nutrition and weight policy.

These regularly report to the Strategic level.

The MOD does not undertake a cost analysis of the military lifestyle, but through the Health and Well-being Strategy sets out a through-career process to ensure recruits join well, train well, work well, live well and leave well.

The Strategy is reviewed every five years, and the accompanying plan is reviewed bi-annually.


FOI 2018/03526 dated 23 March 2018.


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