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Armed Forces: Mental Illness

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many and what percentage of armed forces personnel who have served in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan have been diagnosed with a mental health condition; (253720)

(2) how many service personnel who have served in (a) Afghanistan since 2001 and (b) Iraq since 2003 his Department has recorded as having a mental health condition of each type in each year since 2001.

[holding answer 3 February 2009]: Since July 2007 the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) organisation has reported on the Psychiatric Morbidity of the UK armed forces. Quarterly reports for the whole of 2007 are available to view both in the Library of the House and on the DASA website at:

www.dasa.mod.uk

Equivalent verified data prior to 2007 are not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The morbidity report shows the number of new attendances at military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs) during each quarter and the results of the initial mental health assessment. The figures shown in the following table are extracted from the morbidity report and show initial assessments of mental disorder broken down by operational deployment for the calendar year 2007.

Initial mental disorder assessments in 2007: ICD-10 groupings by deployment

Deployment: theatres of operation

Iraq and/or Afghanistan1

Iraq

Afghanistan1

Not known2

ICD-10 description

Patients seen

Patients seen

Patients seen

Patients seen

All patients seen

2,562

2,176

464

271

All patients assessed with a mental disorder

1,898

1,725

375

155

Psychoactive substance use

216

198

38

13

disorders due to alcohol3

150

140

27

8

Mood disorders

395

365

57

34

Depressive episode

314

288

51

33

Neurotic disorders

1,188

1,071

265

86

PTSD

145

124

48

6

Adjustment disorders

705

639

148

31

Other mental and behavioural disorders

99

91

15

22

No mental disorder

501

451

89

116

No assessment details

163

147

37

0

1 Does not include personnel deployed to Afghanistan during the period January 2003 to October 2005.

2 Records supplied without identifiers.

3 Data for disorders due to use of alcohol are not available for the period January—March 2007.

DASA’s statistics show that the total number of new patients assessed with a mental health disorder during their first appointment at MOD’s out-patient DCMHs during 2007 is 19.9 per 1,000 strength of the armed forces, or 1.99 per cent. This figure covers all patients, including those who had not deployed operationally. Of the 190,400 regular members of the armed forces in service on 1 January 2008, 56 per cent. had previously deployed on operations to Iraq, Afghanistan or both theatres.