Armed Forces: Mental Illness

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 13th September 2018.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what records his Department makes of mental health conditions experienced by (a) serving armed forces personnel and (b) veterans.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) serving armed forces personnel and (b) veterans who are currently experiencing mental health problems.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) maintains an electronic patient record for serving UK Armed Forces personnel, which has a centralised data warehouse of coded information. From this and data from the MOD's in-patient care contractor, the Government publishes annual statistics on mental health in the Armed Forces. This summarises all initial assessments for a new episode of care of personnel at MOD Specialist Mental Health Services (Departments of Community Mental Health for outpatient care and all admissions to the MOD's in-patient care contractor) by financial year (FY).

The latest bulletin was published in June 2018 and provides Armed Forces mental health statistics for the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2018. This can be viewed at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/717033/20180621_Mental_Health_Annual_Report_17-18_O.pdf

This shows that in FY 2017-18, the latest period for which figures are available, 3.1% of personnel had a mental health disorder assessed at MOD Specialist Mental Health Services. The bulletin does not include data on patients treated for mental health problems wholly within the primary care setting by their GP or medical officer. Defence Statistics is planning to carry out work in the future to estimate the number of personnel treated in this setting.

Information on all veterans who are currently experiencing mental health problems is not held by the MOD. The provision of veterans' mental healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS in England and the Devolved Administrations. Priority access for veterans with service attributable conditions is provided in England, Scotland and Wales subject to the clinical need of others.

The MOD does hold some information on specific veteran cohorts experiencing mental health problems. As at 31 March 2018 there were 638 veterans in receipt of an ongoing Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for Mental Disorders. Also, as at 31 March 2018 there were a minimum of 13,452 Disablement pensioners in receipt of an ongoing War Pension to compensate for Service attributable Mental Disorders.

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