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Health of veterans is "priority", Department of Health says

The Department of Health says the health of veterans is a "priority" for the government.

In a statement, it said:

"The suicide of anyone is a tragedy, but it isparticularly sad when it is of someone who has sacrificed so much in theservice of their country. The health of veterans, including their mentalhealth, is a priority issue for this Government, with £2million made availablein 2010/11 and £1.8million a year over the following four years.

“We have set up initiatives to help provide support and care for veterans and their families including the 24 hour Combat Stress Helpline; The Big White Wall, and a number of dedicated veterans' mental health services. Further regional launches are expected over the coming months.

These services provide psychological treatment and support specifically tailored to meet the needs of ex-service personnel and their families, in a sensitive manner.”

The Forgotten Fallen? Where to go for support

  • Combat Stress looks after men and women who are suffering from a psychological condition related to their career
  • Big White Wall is a peer support network that allows people to be open about what's on their mind

The Royal British Legion and Healing The Wounds also give help and advice to serving and former personnel.

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Suicides claiming lives of former American military

  • Male veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide as male non-veterans
  • On average 18 veterans commit suicide each day
  • It means that every 80 minutes a veteran dies by suicide
  • Roughly a third of US soldiers who took their own lives had never been deployed abroad
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