I fully support the Mail on Sunday’s campaign to improve mental healthcare for serving troops, including the introduction of a 24/7 helpline.
In today’s paper, John Nicol talks about how he was shot down over Iraq 27 years ago, captured, tortured and forced by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen to appear on television and denounce his actions as an RAF officer. As a prisoner of war he left like the most insignificant, terrified human being on earth. Dealing with PTSD is now part of his life.
I met John in the aftermath of Gulf War 1 and fully agree with his comments about how the British public and the armed forces need to get to the same point of understanding and acceptance of troops with mental illness as they are with physically injured personnel.
The Mail’s campaign has also won support from ex-deputy head of Nato General Sir Richard Shirreff. And former Special Forces commander Major General Jonathan Shaw described mental health issues in the military as ‘the iceberg approaching us’. Several MPs including Julian Lewis, chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee, are also backing the campaign.
Lord Dannatt: Former head of the British Army
General Sir Mike Jackson: Former head of the British Army
Field Marshal Lord Guthrie: Former commander of UK Armed Forces
Admiral Lord West: Former head of the Naval Staff
Colonel Tim Collins: Former SAS officer who served in 2003 Iraq War
Dan Jarvis MP: Ex-British Army officer who served in Afghanistan
Johnny Mercer MP: Ex-British Army officer who served in Afghanistan
Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon: Chemical weapons expert
Supporting the mental health of our armed forces is vitally important and today I am proud to add my name to this list.
If you wish to support the Mail’s mental healthcare campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or make contact on Twitter: @MarkNicolMoS