Growing Number of Veterans Seek Mental Health Aid


There are a growing number of soldiers seeking mental health aid, according to the charity Combat Stress.

There was a “significant increase” in the number of UK soldiers getting psychiatric referrals between 2012 and 2013, a rise of 57%. 2012 saw Combat Stress deal with 228 cases, whereas in 2013, they had almost 360.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition often associated with service men and women, although it can also occur as a result of other traumatic experiences and stress, such as car crashes. PTSD can cause mood swings, nightmares and an inability to sleep, as well as flashbacks. It can also cause anxiety attacks and symptoms similar to depression.

There are several reasons that could be causing the rising number of veterans to seek aid. In a way, the higher numbers of veterans seeking aid is a good sign, as it indicates that the social stigma of psychological issues and mental health is falling. It also shows that the awareness of mental issues has grown, and so that people are more able to recognise and to admit that they are suffering with a mental condition and seek aid.

The overall issue is presumed to be heightened by the fact that UK Forces are set to be out of Afghanistan by the end of this year.

20% of veterans are likely to suffer from a form of mental health illness, and the chief executive of Combat Stress, Commander Andrew Ryan, said that “we cannot allow the ex-servicemen and women who suffer from the invisible injuries of war to go unnoticed and untreated… our veterans and families deserve better.”

Combat Stress offers free clinical treatment programmes and 24 hours help line, as well as community and outreach support and occupational therapy, all aiding ex-service men and women who have any form of mental issues. Feel free to visit their website or phone their 24 hour helpline on 0800 138 1619.