The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid out £5.5 million to 34 troops suffering acute post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The servicemen and women received an average of £161,764 each after the MoD conceded that mental illness brought about by their service will affect their personal and professional lives for years to come.
The cases date back years to Gulf War 1 when the MoD was heavily criticised for its failure to diagnose and treat those most vulnerable to PTSD.
The repercussions of wars are evidenced by the mental deterioration of the soldiers who fought, with PTSD being one of the most serious mental disorders that can afflict a soldier.
Research by Professor Simon Wessely, professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and Director of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, proves that those who are injured and medically discharged from the armed forces are more likely to go on to develop PTSD and other mental health issues.
The UK military recruits 2,000 16 to 17-year-olds, making up a quarter of all new enlistments, according to figures compiled in a parliamentary briefing. The armed forces also recruit from deprived areas and low-income families.
Statistics show that soldiers who join the army before 18 are significantly more likely to suffer from PTSD and other serious mental health issues. When injured or exposed to war at ground zero level they are the most vulnerable to the symptoms of PTSD.
The MoD’s failure to admit this – and deal with the consequences before symptoms kick in – is truly shocking. The money saved in compensating these men and women should have been used on pre-emptive treatment, avoiding the need for reactive compensation.