Record numbers medically discharged for mental health issues

Monday 16 October 2017

Government statistics have revealed that there has been almost a 90% increase in the number of Armed Forces personnel being medically discharged with mental and behavioural disorders, including mood disorders, depression, stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the last 5 years.

In 2016/17, on average seven members of the Armed Forces were medically discharged from the Armed Forces each day - more than 200 per month. The Government’s own report shows that half of those discharged have multiple injuries, demonstrating the increasingly complex nature of Veteran’s needs.

Since 2012/13, 255 individuals were medically discharged from the Navy with mental and behavioural disorders. The majority of these were Royal Marines. Over the same period, 178 men and women were discharged from the RAF for the same reason.

2015/16 saw the highest number of personnel discharged with mental health issues from the RAF and the Royal Navy (17 and 72 respectively). However, 2016/17 saw 393 men and women discharged from the Army due to their mental health. This was the highest number since 2005.

In 2014, Help for Heroes commissioned King’s College London to undertake a study to ascertain the scale of the need. This study found that 66,090 men and women who served between 1991 and 2014 will need support. This equates to 1 in 11 of all those who served as regulars during this period (66,090 / 757, 805).

In the 10 years that Help for Heroes has been going, it has supported 12,927 of this cohort, plus over 1000 injured before 1991 and 3,339 Veterans injured after 2014 (17,267 total).

Veterans are increasingly coming forward for mental health support. Help for Heroes has seen a 67% increase in the number of individuals reaching out for support between January and June this year, compared to the same period last year: from Jan-June 2016 240 individuals got in touch for support, compared to 401 in the first half of 2017.

 The Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds service provides support to Veterans and family members struggling with common mental health challenges including anxiety, depression and anger.

Advice for those seeking support can find out more here.

Mental health medical discharges












For more information, please contact the Help for Heroes Communications office at 01725 514 276 or email


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