THE grieving mother of a special forces hero who took his own life has welcomed calls by a coroner for the military to do more to support troops.
Heartbroken Viv Johnston’s eyes welled with tears as coroner James Healey-Pratt vowed he would put pressure on the government.
Her son, Danny Johnston, took his life in May last year after a lengthy battle against mental health.
Since her lad’s death, the courageous mum has become a vocal campaigner fighting to drive up support for the nation’s war veterans.
Speaking of the coroner’s promise, Mrs Johnston said: ‘It’s a marvellous step forward that a coroner is publicly announcing that enough is not being done and that the MoD needs to step up to the mark.’
Last week Mrs Johnston was among the campaigners –which included the founders of Portsmouth-based armed forces group All Call Signs, that was set up as a result of Mr Johnston’s death – who marched on Westminster to attend a critical debate into Britain’s veteran suicide epidemic.
The parliamentary hearing was sparked following shock investigation by The News last year which revealed Britain, unlike allies like the US, Canada and Australia, had no concrete figures of the number of veterans taking their lives.
This, armed forces campaigners and charities say, is vital in helping health bodies identify people most at risk.
Speaking after the inquest into her son’s death, Mrs Johnston – supported by her daughter Sophie and son-in-law Wesley Meredith – said action was desperately needed.
‘This is a problem that should not be left for charities and veterans to fix,’ she said.
Mr Meredith, who is a Staff Sergeant in the Royal Corps of Engineers and has served in the military for 16 years, wanted the MoD to look at how it can better support soldiers with mental health issues.
‘There just isn’t the right support for people,’ he told the inquest.