Commenting on the report published last week in Psychological Medicine by King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), King’s College London entitled “Are common mental disorders more prevalent in the UK serving military compared to the general working population?” Ed Parker, Co-founder and CEO of Walking With The Wounded commented:
“The findings from this report by King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) clearly identify the significant number of men and women in the military population, present and past, who need our support as result of being disadvantaged by their service.
“We know there isn’t currently sufficient capacity in the mental health sector to cope with existing demand. This demand, as the report suggests will increase as more and more servicemen and women are being medically discharged on the grounds of mental injury. When considering the CBI quoted a £40billion a year cost to the economy for mental health, we run the risk of creating an impossible situation for those suffering from mental injury to secure employment. This is before one takes into account the relationship between veterans suffering from mental injury and the disproportionate number of homeless veterans and those in the criminal justice system.
“By way of highlighting this, research indicates it costs the UK tax payer £138,000 for the first 12 months of a custodial sentence (including the trial costs) and as previously highlighted there is an undeniable link between those veterans suffering from mental injury with those in the criminal justice system.
“In response to such figures, WWTW is launching a collaborative programme with the NHS and other relevant charities called Head Start to address the increasing needs of ex-service personnel suffering with mental injuries. The programme will introduce private psychotherapy from a nationwide network of qualified practitioners. As it is acknowledged in the report, we suspect that the majority of the cases will be similar to societal issues such as depression, anxiety, anger and stress, as well as trauma based problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“Head Start will be launching in East Anglia in partnership with the Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust and in London in partnership with Stoll Foundation in the first quarter of 2015. The aim is to roll the programme out across mainland UK in the same regional configuration as the NHS regional veteran outreach mental health teams.”