Government must improve mental healthcare for armed forces, says city MP

MORE must be done to address the mental health of armed forces personnel, a city MP has said.

Friday, 18th May 2018, 4:59 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:35 am
Stephen Morgan. Picture: Loughlan Campbell

Labour MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has called on the government to improve its mental healthcare offering for members of the armed forces.

It comes after statistics showed about 500 male and female personnel were medically discharged with mental health problems in 2016/17 – a 135 per cent increase on the previous year.

Mr Morgan said the government must take a trio of priorities, including understanding the ‘scale of the need’, ‘improving waiting times’ and providing ‘appropriate care’ for personnel with the ‘most complex’ mental health issues.

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His call for change comes amid Mental Health Awareness Week.

In a statement, Mr Morgan said: ‘It is vital our armed forces personnel get appropriate mental health care.

‘I’ve no doubt people in Portsmouth expect their government to take care of the brave men and women who serve our country.

‘I’ve already asked the minister about what more his government can do to ensure veterans seeking mental health support are seen within the 18 week NHS target.

‘But this problem isn’t going away, indeed, these figures show it’s getting worse.

‘I’ll keep up the fight, alongside Help for Heroes and other similar charities, to make sure the government take this issue seriously and take action to get service personnel timely, appropriate treatment.’