In 2018, there were 79 known or suspected suicides, – one every five days. Veterans’ groups fear the real number is higher but say support for those suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is simply not available when needed. With many waiting more than three months to see a specialist, there are concerns that too many of those who served their country are “falling through the gaps”. The toll was calculated by Jim Wilde from Veterans United Against Suicide, who says the number is double that of previous years.
Now the Government is being urged to act by providing serving soldiers and veterans with support to deal with mental health issues. Many of those who take their lives are suffering from either depression or PTSD after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Of those known or suspected to have taken their own lives last year, 51 were veterans while 13 were serving soldiers.
Pablo Snow, who runs veterans’ magazine The Sandbag Times, said: “It’s been a very hard year. “I know there are lots of people with mental health issues who need help but these people served their country and have witnessed terrible things, perhaps they should be afforded specialist treatment as soon as they find the courage to speak about how they feel.”