More Money For Mental Heath Problems For UK Forces
More people who served in the Falklands War have committed suicide since the war ended, than were killed in combat operations, just think about that for a moment.
A large number of the homeless on the streets of Britain today are ex-service people, people who have fought for us will tonight bed down in a cardboard box in a shop doorway.
The cause of all this suffering and misery can be directly traced to the effects of combat and viewing sudden violent death, on a daily basis and what happens to the individual after the war is over.
There is very little Aardvark can find to applaud about this Coalition Government, however the news that Liam Fox is taking immediate steps to stop what he calls “the national scandal of post conflict suicides” is very good news
Dr Fox also made several announcements about the welfare of troops and veterans, saying that two of the recommendations of Andrew Murrison MP’s review of mental health care for the armed forces would be implemented immediately:
* A dedicated 24 hour support line for veterans;
* Introducing 30 additional mental health nurses in Mental Health Trusts to ensure the right support is organised for veterans.
If you are coming home with the regulars and you are with your comrades who have been through what you’ve been through, you at least have people to talk to who understand the problem.
In the TA you could be in Helmand being shot at by the Taliban one week and be the milkman in Dorset on your own the next – isolated and without that level of comfort and support.
The Americans had exactly this problem during the Vietnam War, a soldier could be in the jungle fighting for his life and 24 hours later a civilian walking the streets.
10 years after the Vietnam war ended the problems of suicide, depression, alcoholism and drug addiction, crime and murder by Vietnam Vets were filling the news stories. The BBC recently showed a documentary about a US Army platoon that fought in the Blair/Bush Iraq war, since coming they have murdered one of their own committed armed violent crimes and once respected soldiers are now convicts.
We the people, expect our armed forces to defend to our way of life and do the dirty and dangerous work of armed combat, to flick a switch and have them kill and be killed for us, we then expect the switch to be flicked and it all turned off.
A lucky few can walk away from it unscathed, but killing and seeing your friends killed does not come easily to most people. What people see and do in combat remains with them as clear as bell for their whole life, for centuries we have abandoned them, shot them as cowards in WW1 but at last we are doing something positive to try to help them.
That is to be applauded.