Essex: Veterans from the armed forces who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder much sooner

Andrew Cameron - chief executive of Combat Stress

Andrew Cameron - chief executive of Combat Stress - Credit: Archant

Veterans from the armed forces who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder much sooner than veterans from earlier conflicts, according to new research.

The figures come from veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress, which treats soldiers and other servicemen for the psychological damage they receive from their military careers.

According to the charity, former troops from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, who seek help, do so within an average of two years.

This contrasts sharply with the previous average time lag of 14 years for veterans of other conflicts although the figures might be skewed by people who saw action as far back as the Second World War coming to the charity in recent years.

Combat Stress is currently treating more than 5,200 veterans nationally who suffer from psychological injuries as a result of their military careers.


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In Essex, it supports 28 veterans who served in Iraq and 34 who served in Afghanistan.

The report, published today to coincide with a BBC Panorama special on military mental health, argues that the fall in the time it takes veterans to seek help may be the result of the Armed Forces’ efforts to destigmatise mental health.

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However, the report also reveals that only 5% of referrals came via a GP. Combat Stress says this suggests either that veterans are unwilling to tell their GPs about their problems or that GPs may not be sufficiently aware of Combat Stress’ services.

Andrew Cameron, chief executive at Combat Stress said: “Psychological injuries are just as likely as physical injuries, and it is good there appears to be less stigma and veterans have the confidence to seek help sooner.”

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