The Defence Select committee has published its report “The Armed Forces Covenant in Action Part 5: Military Casualties, a review of progress – Defence Committee” , today. It finds that the Armed Forces have seen a significant increase in the number of personnel requiring treatment by the Defence Community Mental Healthcare Teams yet the number of staff to deal with this has not increased accordingly. The committee calls on the MOD to explain how it intends to deal with this increased need and how quickly it can provide the extra support that is needed. I for one will be very interested to hear the MOD’s response on this. Over the last couple of years, as a firm, we have seen a massive increase in the number of servicemen and women coming to us with serious mental health issues and who feel they have been let down by the MOD in terms of their treatment and management. They have often been deployed a number of times and have seen atrocities that as civilians we can only imagine and yet they have received little or no support on return. This leaves them to try and deal with the issues themselves or, in some cases, turn to alcohol. It is interesting that the committee’s report also highlights the problem of alcohol consumption and “ is not convinced that sufficient focus has been given to dealing with the problem at every level of the chain of command”. We have also seen a number of cases whereby personnel are being medically discharged with serious mental health concerns and the support in civvy street for them is equally concerning.
I support the committee’s call on the MOD to respond to explain how it will address these problems, what their strategy will be and the timeframe within which service personnel can expect improvement in this area. Given the bravery and commitment the armed forces demonstrate, this is the very least the MOD can do.
Clare Stevens, Director,