Thursday, 10 October 2019 05:51


On world mental health day, SNP MP Douglas Chapman is calling on the UK government to provide better mental health support to military personnel who have been medically discharged.

The call follows a new report by Help for Heroes that finds 70% of the veterans it provides support to have experienced a negative transition to civilian life after discharge. Over 60% said they didn’t feel supported during this challenging process and 50% were discharged despite not having a full diagnosis or being in treatment for their injury or illness.
The report highlights six key findings:

  1. Men and women are being medically discharged with a physical injury before receiving a full diagnosis for mental health conditions
  2. There is little mental health support through transition for those being discharged.
  3. Those being discharged are not being properly signposted to the courses available to help them.
  4. The time given to transition after medical discharge varies hugely between Services and individuals.
  5. Compensation awards are often not being disclosed until after service personnel have left the military.
  6. Individuals who are medically discharged often do not receive their full medical history documents for many months after leaving the military.

Commenting, Mr. Chapman, the SNP’s defence procurement spokesperson said:
“It is a daunting and challenging prospect for military personnel to make the transition from military to civilian life after they have been discharged due to injury or illness – they more than deserve all the support they need to do this.
“However, right now the UK government is essentially hanging them out to dry by failing to provide the vital support they need and are entitled to.
“These men and women have devoted their lives to serving this country – it is incumbent on the UK government to ensure they are provided with everything they may need to transition smoothly into civilian life and they can start by commissioning an independent review and audit of the medical discharge process.” 
Sarah Jones, Head of Psychological Wellbeing at Help for Heroes said:
“Last year, 500 people were forced to leave the Armed Forces as a result of mental health difficulties or disorders.
“There are significant gaps in the support available to those medically discharged; so, as part of our 40 Thousand Strong campaign, we’re calling on the Government to commission an independent review of the process to close those gaps.
“With the public’s support, we’re on a mission to ensure every wounded hero has the best opportunity to stand strong in civilian life.”

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