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Combat stress and PTSD - soldier on the battlefield holding head in hands

Help for Heroes assists parliamentary Inquiry

After Help for Heroes raised concerns with MPs about the provision and understanding of Veterans Mental Health, the Defence Select Committee has been examining the extent of mental health issues across both serving armed forces personnel and veterans this year.

Last November, Help for Heroes asked the Defence Select Committee - which examines MOD and Government policies - to look into the issue of veterans' mental health to find ways of improving services for the Armed Forces community. The committee of MPs is collating opinions from across the Armed Forces and Health sector. The charity submitted written and verbal submissions to the Committee and focused on a number of key areas:

· The charity does not believe that current Government statistics accurately reflect the extent of mental health problems among service personnel and veterans;

· The government's understanding of "need" is too simplistic and doesn't account for those who do not have a diagnosed condition but who nevertheless occasionally struggle with their mental health; and

· The current model of care that provides support for 8 months, which is often not enough for those with very complex needs.

Karen Mead, Head of Psychological Wellbeing at Help for Heroes said: "We are working hard to understand the scale of the need and identify how best to support those with psychological injuries. One of the challenges around this is noting that existing government statistics are often limited to the numbers of individuals actually coming forward for support. We suspect, based on international research, that there are likely to be many more who are not counted in these figures as they have not yet come forward to seek help. Often, help-seeking is delayed until after someone has left the armed forces.

Read Parliamentary Defence Committee - Armed forces and veterans mental health inquiry