Broken heroes betrayed by army bosses as veteran charity is cut
Combat Stress is treating around 6,000 veterans and takes 800 calls for help every month.
Boss Peter Poole said: “The length of time it takes conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to develop is around 13 years, so the number could continue to rise.”
More than 180,000 Brit troops have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003.
In 2012, more soldiers committed suicide than were killed in Afghanistan.
Last month Tory MP and former Army officer Johnny Mercer called the treatment of veterans in the UK a “great stain” on the nation.
Mr Mercer said in the Commons: “I regret to say that, aside from some excellent individual practice and charitable work, the way we look after our veterans’ mental health in this country remains poor.
“Many of our young men and women, who by good training and fortune walked away from battle without any physical scars, have been stricken in later years by an underlying sickness that can tear at the very core of the strongest and most enduring individual. Our British public have in the latter part of the last decade been the knight in shining armour flying over the horizon and rescuing some of our most war-scarred individuals.
“They have given millions upon millions of pounds and donated time, effort, blood, sweat and tears to looking after Our Boys and Girls.
“They are, quite simply, what makes Britain great and what make us, when we are away, so proud, and fight so hard for the country we love.”“I regret to say that, aside from some excellent individual practice and charitable work, the way we look after our veterans’ mental health in this country remains poor”Johnny Mercer
Although the charity is having its funding from the MoD reduced, it has been awarded a £4.6million contract with the NHS.
But Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, said mainstream health care professionals were struggling to deal with the health issues facing veterans.
She said: “Problems arising in the current system appear to relate to a number of issues, including help-seeking, referral, assessment and access to appropriate treatments. One study reported that only a quarter of those diagnosed with mental health problems had accessed medical help.
“There is a tendency to rely on prescribing medication and, according to Combat Stress, there is a problem of low rates of referral to its service by GPs and community mental health teams.”
She also said the effectiveness of the current follow-up service – which involves sending troops a letter – needs to be re-evaluated.
The Ministry of Defence did not respond to requests for comment.