(Picture: Royal Navy).

Gaping Hole In Mental Health Care For Veterans, MPs Told

MPs have been told by a journalist and mental health advocate that there is a gaping hole in the mental health care for veterans.

(Picture: Royal Navy).

(Picture: Royal Navy).

MPs have been told by a journalist and mental health advocate that there is a gaping hole in the mental health care for veterans.

Journalist Matthew Green, who has spent years documenting veterans’ experiences, told the Defence Select Committee that personnel and their families need more care made available.

Mr Green's comments came in the meeting as part of the Committee's latest inquiry into the support that is offered.

Speaking to Forces News, Mr Green said: "For the past five years, I've been speaking to veterans and their families and serving personnel - both to research my book 'Aftershock' on military mental health but also to write stories, produce documentaries and advocate on this issue.

"So I'm hoping I can really bring an outside perspective to a field that's often dominated by very familiar faces."

Mr Green speaking to Forces News.

Mr Green has been investigating the impact operations in Afghanistan and Iraq has had on personnel and their families.

He says he feels he can provide MPs with an independent view and believes better services are required. He said: "Particularly complex presentations of PTSD, we just have a gaping gap in the system.

"And we need to be providing the right care because with the right support, I've seen individuals who've really been in the darkest depths transform in ways that they certainly couldn't have imagined (was) possible, and I just think we need to be making that kind of care available to far more people than are currently getting it." 

A Government spokesperson told Forces News in a statement: “We encourage anyone, serving or veteran, to access the wide range of support available for individuals struggling with their mental health.

"The MoD has increased its spending on mental health to £22 million a year, set up a 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline and continues to tackle any perceived stigma around talking about mental health issues.

"Veterans can access specialist medical support from the NHS and the wide range of service charities which the MOD works closely with.”

Anonymous British soldiers (Picture: PA).
(Picture: PA).

After hearing from witnesses in the Committee, member Jonny Mercer MP, disagreed and said: "If you look at that veterans care sector - they are swilling with money, this is organisation and leadership."

Mr Green replied: "In terms of money flooding at this problem, you are absolutely right, it's a case of making sure it gets spent properly."    

This is the second phase of the inquiry into mental health support for the military and more evidence is expected to follow.