YEP says: Ex-forces suicides: we have to know scale of problem to tackle it

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SUICIDE rates among ex-service personnel are believed to be on the rise - but there are no official figures to prove it. This newspaper has taken part in an investigation into suicides of veterans and joins the call for an “urgent review” by Government into recording the deaths of former service personnel.

Although suicides are recorded in coroners’ courts, there is no specific data on how many former service personnel have taken their lives.

As one veteran told us: “How can they tackle a problem if they don’t know its scale and nature? It is a derogation of duty of care - bluntly, they have screwed these guys up, they should fix them”

A leading clinician at Combat Stress, a charity which is treating more than 3,000 veterans with mental health issues, said it was vital to understand whether Britain was experiencing a similar sharp increase to its allies (rises have been seen in America, Canada, Australia and parts of Europe) “We just don’t know,” he said, “Because the last study was in 2009.”

Northern Ireland MP Jeffrey Donaldson, a veteran himself, and former member of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee said: “The deaths of these brave people is an indictment of a system that is failing to provide many veterans with adequate support and treatment.”