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Armed Forces: Mental Health

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces have resumed (a) front line service and (b) civilian military support duties after being diagnosed with a mental health condition in each year since 1997. (283312)

The MOD’s Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) organisation has since July 2007 reported on the Psychiatric Morbidity of the UK Armed Forces, and quarterly Reports for the whole of 2007 and 2008 are now available both in the Library of the House and on the DASA website at:

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

The figures show that, of the 10,103 personnel who attended a MOD Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) for the first time during this two-year period, 7,101 were assessed as having a mental health disorder of some sort. These included a wide range and severity of neurotic and mood disorders; only 335 were given an initial diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

While records are not collated centrally as to how many of these return specifically to the frontline or to other service duties, overall only around 200 personnel are discharged each year where mental and behavioural disorders are the principal disability. This demonstrates that if personnel do come forward for mental health assessment and treatment, the vast majority can be treated and remain in service.