Significant increase in the number of UK war veterans seeking help for mental health treatment

  • One charity has found that the number of UK veterans of the Afghanistan conflict seeking mental health treatment has increased significantly. /images/mentalhealth.jpg

    Combat stress has said it's received a 57% increase in new Afghanistan veteran referrals from 2012 to 2013. The charity currently supports over 660 Afghanistan veterans; however warn that the issue could become heightened as UK forces prepare to leave the country, reports the BBC.

    Combat Stress said they found veteran generals waited an average of thirteen years after serving before seeking help, but this has now failed to an average of eighteen months for Afghanistan veterans.

    Its chief executive, Cmdr Andrew Cameron, said: "A small, yet significant number of veterans who serve in the armed forces each year continue to relive the horrors they experienced on the front line. Day in, day out, they battle these hidden psychological wounds, often tearing families apart in the process. We cannot allow the ex-servicemen and women who suffer from the invisible injuries of war to go unnoticed and untreated. This is an unnecessary drain on society and our veterans and families deserve better."

    Stephen Coyle, a former corporal clerk in the Adjutant General's Corps who has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, said he became "emotionally numb. I was not sleeping, constantly going over what was making me sad, not finding anything to be happy about. Looking at my little boy, who I adore, and still not being happy."

    The Ministry of Defence said it had invested £7.4m to help improve mental health services and ensure everyone who needed them were able to.

    A spokeswoman said: "We want to further reduce the stigma of mental illness, encouraging even more people to come forward, and we will continue to work closely with Combat Stress to help veterans access the wide range of support available."

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