With Armistice Day approaching, Rushanara Ali MP has pressed the government on its duty of care for the mental health of military veterans.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, there are around 5 million veterans in the UK, and a further 20,000 personnel who leave HM Forces each year. When staff leave HM Forces, their healthcare transfers from the military to the NHS. The Mental Health Foundation estimates that only half of those experiencing mental health problems actually have sought help from the NHS.
Common mental health problems of veterans include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse which leads to a higher risk of social exclusion, homelessness and suicide.
In the House of Commons yesterday, Rushanara Ali, pressed the Minister of Defence, Mark Lancaster MP, to ensure that veterans “actually receive the treatment that they require.”
“The armed forces covenant makes it clear that veterans have distinct health needs and should receive priority treatment, but given the fragmentation in the health service, what monitoring is being done to make sure that they actually receive the treatment that they require?”
After speaking in the chamber, Rushanara said, “We must do more to help our military veterans. Many suffer tremendous mental health problems and the government must ensure that the NHS is doing all it can to offer them the professional help they need and deserve.”
Rushanara Ali will be attending the Annual Service of Remembrance at City Hall on Friday morning and she will be attending a service in her constituency on Sunday.