More than 60,000 ex-military personnel either need extra support now or will do in the future for a wide range of physical and mental health issues, according to a new report by King’s College London and forces charity Help for Heroes.
The report, named Counting The Cost, which was launched at the Imperial War Museum in London, identified more than 750,000 men and women who had served as military regulars between 1991 and 2014. Of these, more than 235,000 had been deployed on one or more major operation including Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The report estimated that 66,090 – around one in 11 of the veterans in the study – required health support for service-related physical and mental health problems, such as physical injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More than 36,000 had been medically discharged but many more may have developed problems after leaving service. Many of these might not realise that they need help, or be aware of the types of help available from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the NHS and forces charities.
Neil Greenberg, Professor of Defence Mental Health at King’s College London, said: “We identified that the mental health needs of Service Personnel and Veterans are most commonly related to common mental health disorders, alcohol misuse and PTSD in that order.
“However, there is also a good body of evidence suggesting that the majority of those with healthcare needs do not ask for help. Therefore, there is also the pressing question of how best to encourage those who might benefit from support to make use of it.”
Dr Julia Diehle of King’s College London added: “We hope the results of this study will help State and charity organisations to plan for the likely volume of beneficiaries over the coming years. Further research is required to identify the specific needs of beneficiaries and to find out when beneficiaries are most likely to seek help.”