Forces mental health disorders reach record levels

The number of serving and ex-forces personnel suffering from mental disorders has hit record levels – but veterans have told The Independent that unlike those with visible injuries, the men and women left with the “hidden wounds” of mental trauma are being left to struggle against an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme determined to give them as little as possible.

Dean Upson, 36, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), said: “They don’t care. The fact that you have fought for your country, done three combat tours, that counts for nothing.” His experience and that of others seeking compensation for mental illness, he said, was: “They will fight and question everything.”

From my experience, I have seen a change in the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. When it first started in 2005, far more awards were going through, on a more straightforward basis. Applications then started being routinely turned down. The servicemen and woman we help usually get a proper award on appeal, but the fact that they have to go to appeal in the first place adds to the distress they are already feeling.

Hilary Meredith