Help for soldiers

Help for soldiers Credit: Press Association

NHS Kent and Medway is investing £150,000 over the next three years in a project to support people who have left or are leaving the armed forces.

There are 130,000 ex-service personnel in Kent and Medway and while evidence suggests they suffer no more mental illness than the general population, they often do not seek help because of the stigma around mental health experienced in the military.

Veterans aged 24 and under are two to three times as likely compared to non-veterans to commit suicide. This age group in particular can find it hard to ask for help when they rejoin civilian life.

Ex-military personnel have higher rates of alcohol misuse than the general population. The Kent and Medway Veterans Needs Assessment found a 16 per cent rate of alcohol misuse among ex-service personnel compared to six per cent in the general population.

Alcohol may be used as a coping strategy for mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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