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House of Commons Defence Committee: Mental Health and the Armed Forces report

Veterans are not ‘mad, bad or sad’, says Defence Committee.

The public perception that most Servicemen and women are damaged by their service is wrong, according to a Report by the House of Commons Defence Committee on the extent of mental illness among Armed Forces personnel.

The vast majority of veterans leave with no mental damage, and suggestions to the contrary may actually discourage those who need help from seeking it. The Committee also believes that too much attention may be being placed on PTSD, whereas conditions such as depression are much more common.

The MoD has reported that some 3% of serving personnel were diagnosed with mental health problems last year – a significant increase over the previous decade, but still slightly lower than the level found within the general population. However, as the Department can record only those who seek help, its data probably underestimate the true figure. Academic research suggests that about 10% of veterans who served over the past 20 years may eventually develop mental health problems requiring treatment, with some groups – such as soldiers in combat roles, as well as Reservists – being at higher risk following deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Read the full report here.

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