We Need More Mental Health Support For Our Veterans

It is not surprising that the annual number of Armed Forces Compensation payouts has increased since the scheme began 11 years ago from 121 in 2009-2010, to 580 in 2015-16, despite veterans having to fight and appeal decisions on the level of awards.

We are seeing more and more examples of soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan not having received the appropriate mental health support or treatment upon their return. By the very nature of PTSD, there is often a delay in the onset of symptoms, which can manifest over a number of months or years.  

In the past military doctors have frequently misdiagnosed the condition for ‘battle stress’, ‘anger management’ , ‘alcohol misuse’ and even ‘personality disorder’ amongst others, resulting in a prolonged period of lack of diagnosis and treatment over a number of years. This coupled with the stigma of seeking help, has resulted in soldiers losing their military career and struggling to integrate into civilian life upon discharge from the Armed Forces, and without an adequate support network in place.  It is also clear that civilian doctors still have a lack of understanding of the complexity of military PTSD.

With veterans feeling let down, quite rightly they are increasingly seeking advice from charities and lawyers on their rights to bring claims for compensation.

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