Mental Health Fears for UK Military Personnel

Article excerpt

Nearly 4,000 newcases ofmental health disorder were diagnosed last yearamong armed services personnel.

Mental health statistics released by the Ministry of Defence yesterday showed 3,917 newcases of armed services personnel assessed to have a mental disorder in 2007 by the MoD's department of community mental health.

A breakdown of the statistics showed that, in line with the first nine months of last year, there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of overall mental disorder between those who had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and those who had not deployed during the last quarter of 2007.

But the figures showed a significantly higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among those who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan compared with those who had not deployed to these countries.

But the MoD said PTSD remained a "rare" condition, affecting only 38 personnel seen during the last three months of 2007 who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared to fivewho had not.

Chris Williams, director of themedical finance secretariat in the defence medical services department, said the "vast majority" of those who came forward for treatment were able to return to service.

Only about 150 people a year were discharged for mental health reasons, he said.

"What that demonstrates is that people who come forward and get treatment, the vast majority of them go back to service," he said. …