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Combat Stress/Mental Illness

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel who served in the 1991 Gulf War have been diagnosed with mental illnesses in each year since that conflict; and how many were referred to (a) Combat Stress and (b) NHS mental health services. (84855)

Information on mental illnesses reported by veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict while still serving is not held centrally. The Ministry of Defence does not hold records of mental illnesses reported after an individual has left the services. The NHS is responsible for the health care of ex-service personnel but information on referrals of Gulf veterans is not available. For those Gulf veterans still serving, Defence Medical Services are responsible for providing treatment for all medical conditions, including mental health problems but again we do not hold referral information according to the operations on which personnel were deployed.

Combat Stress have received 853 patient referrals who served in the 1990-91 Gulf conflict, but the same patients may have served in other deployments, so the origin of the mental health problem may not be clear.