26% rise in veteran's seeking mental health services
- 31 Mar
A specialist mental health charity for veterans has found that mental health referrals for ex-servicemen and women have increased by 26%.
Combat Stress has found that referrals for mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder have risen from 1,802 to 2,264. They believe the rise is due to the increase in veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking help, reports the BBC.
The charity now wishes to increase its clinical resources so that the rising demand is met.
Combat Stress say that they believe people who fought in recent conflicts were coming for treatment sooner, however there still remains a stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Dr Walter Busuttil, director of medical services at the charity, said: "We are very concerned at the significant rise in those coming forward with military PTSD. It is the biggest increase we have seen in recent years and we expect it to continue so we want to build up our clinical services accordingly. The recent Budget announcement of increased funding for NHS veterans mental health services is helping but as the need for specialist treatment appears to be expanding we will we need additional funding and resources."
Combat Stress currently works with more than 5,900 ex-servicemen and women from all conflicts since World War Two - a figure it said was higher than at any time since it was founded in 1919. The youngest veteran they work with is 18.
They've found it takes an average of 13 years from the time the veteran leaves the military before it seeks help from the charity.
Their six week intensive treatment programme is currently funded by the NHS.
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