Today marks the first anniversary of a fund raising drive which set up various mental health ‘triage’ centres throughout the UK in a bid to catch veterans early on before their symptoms develop into a serious mental health problem.
The armed forces mental health charity, Combat Stress, has said that the number of veterans who are asking for help has seen a huge increase in the past six years.
On average it will take a veteran 14 years to report any mental health problems, leaving experts concerned that mental health services may experience a huge wave of veterans seeking help some years down the line in response to their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many feel that the delay in seeking help may be down to the stigma attached to mental illness. However, figures from Combat Stress suggest that attitudes towards asking for help are slowly beginning to change, with the charity seeing a 48 per cent increase in the number of people getting in contact with them in the past year.
Dr Walter Busuttil is the medical director of Combat Stress, and has said he was pleased to see that more veterans were reporting their difficulties.
“The biggest problem is social stigma. Most of the people are talked into it by their wives or daughters. Many have delayed onset post traumatic stress disorder, and many start to drink heavily. Their wives then say ‘stop drinking’ – and the symptoms emerge. There is a steady increase and we don’t know where it is going. This could be the peak but it is not likely.” He said.
If you believe that you are suffering with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or another mental health concern, please visit our fact-sheets for further information and to find out how counselling may be able to help. To contact a practitioner directly visit our homepage and use the search tool to locate a qualified counsellor in your local area.