For the first time the rate of PTSD is higher among veterans than the general public, new research from King’s College London has revealed.
The results, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry today (8 October 2018), estimates the rate of PTSD among UK veterans of all conflicts to be 7.4%. The rate of PTSD among the public is 4%.
The rate of PTSD is even higher for veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Among those who’d deployed to the conflicts, the rate of PTSD was 9%. For veterans who deployed to those war zones in a combat role, 17% reported symptoms of PTSD and 30% were predicted to develop a mental health condition.
Dr Walter Busuttil, Medical Director at Combat Stress, said:
“We’re not at all surprised by the findings of this research as it reflects what we see at Combat Stress. Of the veterans we treat, 92% have two or more mental health conditions and almost 80% have served in a combat role.
“In the last decade, the number of veterans seeking help from our charity, particularly from those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, has increased by 97% with more than 2,000 new veterans now coming to us each year.
“The British Armed Forces play a critical role in securing the safety of our society and, for those who develop trauma-related mental health problems, we believe they deserve the best possible help. Our residential PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme is proven to not only transform lives but save them too. Yet we receive no government funding in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the service. Now, 80% dependent on public donations, we’re at risk of having to cut this vital programme.
“For the first time ever, the rate of PTSD is higher among veterans than serving personnel and the public. It’s alarmingly high among those veterans who served in combat – and it’s these veterans who are the most unwell and in urgent need of treatment. We call on the government to commit to funding our proven and vital specialist residential treatment programme.”