Challenging ministers on rising number of UK veterans seeking help for mental health issues

12 May 2014
Today, during Parliamentary Questions, Diane Abbott MP called for the government to account for the increased incidence of mental health problems and the impact that this has on the rate of homelessness amongst ex-service personnel. Anna Soubry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, replied that the rate of mental health incidence was not higher amongst the people who had served in the military. Diane Abbott MP said afterwards “The government’s response runs against a considerable body of evidence, including  the 57% increase in the number of ex-military personnel needing treatment from the charity Combat Stress, which had a record 358 Afghanistan-related referrals last year, compared with 228 in 2012. It also goes against a common sense understanding that people who have undergone such high stress situations are more likely to struggle with mental health problems when they return to the UK. They have also failed to address the continuing problem we have with homelessness veterans, of which there are 1,100 in London alone.”

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