Armed Forces: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Defence written question – answered on 8th May 2014.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Independent, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the effect of post-traumatic stress disorder on the ability of former services personnel to reintegrate into civilian life.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Although mental health problems, and PTSD in particular, are no more prevalent among service personnel than the broader civilian population, it is recognised that service personnel who do experience mental health problems may find it harder to make the transition to civilian life.

The Government have therefore given priority to ensuring that service leavers and veterans can access timely and appropriate mental health treatment, should it be necessary, both in the NHS and through other programmes delivered across Government and the voluntary sector. All of the recommendations of the ‘Fighting Fit’ report, written by the now Minister for International Security Strategy the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend Dr Murrison, have been implemented.

Examples of initiatives taken forward under this Government include Structured Mental Health assessment as part of routine and discharge medicals; specialist follow-on treatment after discharge; the introduction of e-learning packages for clinicians, providing information and advice on the health care needs of the armed forces, their families and veterans; funding for the Combat Stress 24 hr Mental Health Helpline; and the introduction of the Big White Wall, providing Mental Health wellbeing services to serving personnel, their families and veterans.

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