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Urgent need to support veterans' mental health

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There has been a huge rise in veterans seeking sup There has been a huge rise in ex-servicemen seeking support

There have been nearly 1000 new referrals for veterans suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety in the past five years, according to new figures from charity Combat Stress.

The figures show that there has been an increase in referrals each year from 1443 in 2010/11 to 2472 in 2015/16, a rise of 71%. Additionally, since 2014/15 there has been a 34% increase in the number of Afghanistan veterans being supported by the charity, as well as a 24% increase in the number of Iraq veterans being helped. The charity provides specialist clinical services and support to veteran’s affected by their experiences overseas.

‘The rise in referrals over the last five years shows that PTSD continues to have an impact on a small but significant number of veterans, and we must ensure they have access to specialist support,’ said Sue Freeth, chief executive of Combat Stress.’ PTSD is a serious mental health condition which affects between 4-7% of veterans according to the King’s Centre for Military Health Research. In total 20% of veterans will suffer from mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression and PTSD, and alcohol disorders, or more often than not a combination.’

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