The news that the number of armed forces personnel seeking help for mental health problems has doubled over the past decade and that as many as 10 per cent of veterans could be suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder is deeply alarming.
And the claim – by no less than the chairman of the Commons’ Defence Committee – that they are not getting the level of care they were promised is doubly so.
War is a self-evidently traumatic experience and it is entirely understandable that some of those who have experienced it will struggle to cope. So the Government, which sent these men and women into battle, has a moral duty to ensure they receive the very best of care.
Soldiers are treated for physical wounds, but we must ensure that any mental ones are also addressed, given the potentially fatal consequences of failing to do so. An investigation by Johnston Press, published earlier this month, found that 16 veterans had killed themselves since January this year.
Would these deaths have happened if they had not served their country?