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British troops seeking help for mental health doubles in a decade

25 Jul 2018 Daily Mail Online

The number of Armed Forces personnel seeking help for mental health issues has doubled in a decade – with high levels among those who have seen combat in Afghanistan or Iraq.A report by the Ministry of Defence also revealed 'it is still taking too long' for veterans to access mental healthcare services, with some falling through gaps as the availability of treatment varies across the UK.Official figures showed 3.1 per cent of serving personnel are diagnosed with mental health problems – twice the proportion seen in 2008/09.

British soldiers carry on a stretcher into RAF Chinook helicopter in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2009. The number of Armed Forces personnel seeking help for mental health issues has doubled in a decade

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The House of Commons defence committee warned the number of veterans with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression could be three times higher than official figures, at about 10 per cent, raising concerns that many military personnel may not be seeking help because of the stigma surrounding mental health problems.Committee chairman Julian Lewis MP said: 'Most servicemen and women leave with no mental ill-health and, to help veterans, we need to dispel the myth that many suffer psychological harm.'But the MoD must ensure that the few who do develop mental health problems are receiving the level of care promised to them in the Armed Forces Covenant. At the moment, they are not.'The MoD report claimed that the principle enshrined in the Armed Services Covenant – that veterans should receive priority healthcare for service-related conditions – is 'inconsistently applied' across the UK. However, it also warned that publicity of mental health issues by Armed Forces charities had created a 'distorted' public perception of the extent of the problem.It added: 'Rather than causing problems, military service can have a positive effect on an individual's mental health.' Official figures showed 3.1 per cent of serving personnel are diagnosed with mental health problems – twice the proportion seen in 2008/09.

Julian Lewis MP: 'The MoD must ensure that the few who do develop mental health problems are receiving the level of care promised to them'  

Original Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5988883/British-troops-seeking-help-mental-health-doubles-decade.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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