PRIVATE PAIN OF 4,000 HEROES; Mental Health Problems Up by 33%

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE HAMILTON

NEARLY 4,000 servicemen and women have been diagnosed with mental health disorders in just one year.

The alarming figures highlight the huge toll on our brave heroes as they struggle to come to terms with the horrors of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Ministry of Defence document seen by the Sunday Mirror reveals there were 3,942 new cases of mental disorder in the Army, Navy and RAF in 2010 - up 33 per cent compared with a year earlier.

It means that for every 1,000 serving men and women, 19.6 were diagnosed last year. This is ON TOP of previous cases.

Shockingly, the latest cases include 30 who had to be evacuated after being diagnosed on the Afghanistan front-line.

Around 20,000 service personnel serve in Afghanistan every year. And yesterday military insiders warned of a mental health timebomb among the Forces.

An Army source said: "These figures are worryingly high - but it is not that surprising as we are so over-stretched and under stress.

"A lot of people are seeing terrible things - and some are going on so many tours they are under huge stress.

"I have never known anyone have to be flown back from the frontline for a mental health issue so those 30 cases are an extreme concern.

"If this is the number for just one year, the total number will be huge. This is a timebomb and it's only going to get worse."

The duty to provide care for troops who are suffering mental health problems was one of the key pledges of the Military Covenant, made law by the Government last week. …