Veterans' Mental Health Needs: Vets who've served since 1982

Written Ministerial Statement

Veterans' Health

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Derek Twigg): The Government have been considering what more could be done to support veterans suffering from mental health problems which are related to their active service. As a first step to help these veterans, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has decided to extend the scope of the Medical Assessment Programme (MAP), based at St Thomas's Hospital, London, to any veteran suffering mental health problems who has served in operations since 1982. This will include veterans of the Falklands Conflict. The MAP will not provide treatment but will offer an assessment by an expert in the mental health problems that arise from military service, including, where appropriate, a recommendation to the individual and their GP for treatment. Veterans who have concerns about their mental health should seek a referral to the MAP by their doctor; the cost of the assessment will be borne by the MOD. For the longer term, the MODis working in partnership with four UK Health Departments and a number of Mental Health Trusts to pilot a new community-based model of mental health service for veterans. The intention is to provide a service for veterans, offering expertise in veterans' mental health problems across the UK. This scheme will be piloted in five or six locations across the UK, with the first expected to be launched in the summer.

The MOD has also decided that personnel, both Service and civilian, who have served in this theatre on Operation HERRICK and have wider concerns about the effect of their Service on their health can be referred to the MAP for examination; this extends the arrangement already available for veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict and the current Iraq deployment (Operation TELIC). GPs will be informed of the outcome of the medical assessment with recommendations for further action where necessary.

Finally, reflecting the health concerns that have followed major operational deployments in the past, we have agreed a three-year extension to our original Operation TELIC health-monitoring research project being undertaken by the King's Centre for Military Health Research. It will also cover Service personnel deployed to Afghanistan.

source: HC Hansard: 12 June 2007, Cols.40-41WS.

In addition, the following Written Answer may be of interest.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Willie Rennie) of 12 December 2006, Official Report, column 940W, on veterans: mental health, if he will place in the Library a copy of the Health and Social Care Advisory Service’s recommendations of 2005 on mental health services for veterans; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what progress has been made with his Department’s work to ensure that there is a coherent response to veterans’ mental health issues; and if he will make a statement.

Derek Twigg: The Government are committed to good mental health and wellbeing for armed forces personnel, both in service and after they leave. For veterans, healthcare is primarily the responsibility of the NHS.

Following recommendations on mental health services for veterans made in 2005 by the independent Health and Social Care Advisory Service, officials from the Ministry of Defence, the UK Health departments and Combat Stress have been working together to develop and implement a new community-based model for mental health services for veterans; this is designed to provide health professionals with access to expert understanding of veterans’ mental health problems and appropriate treatment options. Based on NHS practice and procedures, the new service would deliver culturally sensitive, evidence-based interventions through a network of public, private and charitable providers; an aim of the new model would be to integrate Combat Stress into NHS commissioning arrangements. It is planned that, beginning in the summer, the model will be piloted at sites across the UK. The pilots are likely to last two years and, if successful, will be rolled out nationally. We have established separately an arrangement for the assessment and treatment of mental health problems that may have affected Reservists as a result of deployment on operations since 2003.

I will place a copy of the recommendations made by the Health and Social Care Advisory Service's in their 2005 report on mental health services for veterans in the Library of the House.*

source: HC Hansard: 13 June 2007, Col. 1051-1052W.

*This means that the document is in the public domain.


War Hero
I heard an alarming statistic that since the end of the Falklands more service personnel have lost their lives from suicide brought about by PTSD than the number of casualties on the British side during the conflict!

If this is correct then its a disgrace and the government need to be more than discussing it in a friggin committee and get on with doing something about it!


No one cares for those of us suffering from mental health problems due to our service in the forces. It is irrelevant if Naval, army or air force service - all are equally shunned.

I receive one hour a month with a clinical psychologist at a dcmh. One hour and I am fortunate!

I wish I would have had a leg blown off or even death would be more welcome than reliving thingd through dreams and flashbacks..... **** them they do not care and have no idea!


Re: Veterans' Mental Health Needs: Vets who've served since

We were talking about this exact subject over on Blobby's suicide thread.

Here's a cross post:

scapa wrote:
The minds a strange thing, look at the falklands veterans, more have now topped themselves than were actually killed in the war, why so many? you would expect the odd one but over three hundred ? these were guys who joined up of their own free will, they were profesional soldiers /sailors fully knowing that one day they may be expected to face combat that was their job and what they were trained for yet twenty five years later hundreds are dead by there own hand


In the USA 35% of soldiers returning from Iraq are actively seeking mental health assistance. In the UK there is little follow-up mental health care/tracking for ex-servicemen; they just fall off the radar screen and this eventually leads to the dire suicide figures for Falkland veterans.

I would like to think that someone in MoD is being pro-active and ensuring that help is readily available for our guys when they return and that help continues to be there for them when they leave the services. We don't want to be 25 years down the road and wondering why we have lost more Iraq/Afghanistan veterans to suicide than we did on the ground.

All Things Considered, February 28, 2006 · A new study shows that 35 percent of troops returning from Iraq are seeking help for mental-health issues. Most of the problems are easily treatable, but more than one in 10 soldiers are diagnosed with a serious mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression

Washington Post Link >

By the way - welcome Themaadone