In January 2019, a Help for Heroes poll (conducted by YouGov) revealed that Armed Forces Veterans are delaying asking for help with their mental health (including PTSD) for almost four years partly due to believing civilian services will not understand or support them (28%) and a fear of being treated differently by friends (25%) and family (19%).
In June 2018, we surveyed MPs again and found only 39% of MPs polled believe the Government should have spent LIBOR funds on refurbishing MOD property.
In the same poll, mental health and welfare were considered the areas where Veterans seek support the most, followed by camaraderie/fellowship and careers. Very few MPs considered Veterans in need of financial support or recovery through sport and recreational activities.
The majority of MPs polled (84%) agree that NHS Trusts should have military mental health specialists on site to support the psychological needs of Veterans.
In January 2018, Help for Heroes released new research which reveals that one in four (23%) partners or family members of an Armed Services Veteran or Service Person state that their own wellbeing and mental health has been directly affected as a result of their family member’s situation. Many are suffering in silence with 16% saying they would try to cope with any issues alone, with only 5% saying they would seek help from a mental health professional.
Stigma is the main reason many of those surveyed do not speak up: 39% said that they “don’t feel [they] have the right to seek help”, almost half (43%) say they “need to be the strong one”, and 16% admitting they would be “afraid of appearing weak”. One in three would turn to a family member, friend or other veteran wives and families before approaching their GP or a medical professional.
Almost one in three (30%) of affected family members suffer from Depression and anxiety.
In December 2017, Help for Heroes commissioned research to better understand the views of MPs around Veterans and mental health. The results show 43% of MPs think the Government does not treat Veterans fairly.
The same poll indicates that MPs view PTSD and Depression as the most prevalent mental health disorders among Veterans (52% and 39% respectively).