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The Forgotten Fallen? The mental scars of war

22-year-old Liam Smith was a few weeks into his third tour of Afghanistan when he suffered a mental breakdown. He had seen friends killed alongside him in Helmand Province.

Liam was flown back to Britain suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He believes the Taliban are hiding in his wardrobe. He's even tried to carve off his face.

Liam's father, Glyn, claimed the Army wasn't capable of dealing with his son's problems and he only got help he desperately needed when he got in touch with his GP.

Liam Smith was already a seasoned veteran in Afghanistan Credit: MoD


The Forgotten Fallen? 'New study needed' to assess suicide risk to young ex-servicemen

In 2009 researchers at The University of Manchester found that young men who have served in the British Armed Forces are up to three times more likely to take their own lives. They analysed data between 1996 and 2005 to compile the only definitive study of former members of our Armed Forces.

Speaking to ITV News one of the authors of that report, Professor Nav Kapur, said the time had come to carry out a new study.

The Forgotten Fallen? Support for former armed forces personnel

  • 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

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

The Forgotten Fallen? Stigma of mental health problems

A study in 2011 of former armed forces personnel by Combat Stress found:

  • 81% [who responded to their survey] were ashamed or embarrassed about mental health problems.
  • One in three say fear of discrimination prevents them from telling families about their mental health problems.
  • 55% of GPs feel there is a stigma associated with Veterans' mental health problems.


The Forgotten Fallen? The rise in young victims

A study in 2009, funded by the Ministry of Defence, looked at suicide rates among former members of the armed forces. The figures from the University of Manchester looked at data between 1996 & 2005 and found:

  • Veterans under the age of 24 are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than the general population
  • Under-24s are also the least likely to come forward for help

The Forgotten Fallen? Rise in soldiers needing help

Combat Stress is a mental health charity which specialises in the care of Veterans' mental health. It says five of their patients are teenagers and the average age has dropped from 73 to 42.

  • In 2010 Combat Stress reported a 66 per cent increase in patients
  • A record 1,300 veterans were treated in 2010
  • In 2011 the charity saw 1,443 referrals
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