There has been some great news today that the MOD has agreed to set aside £6.5 Million to fund micro-processor limbs, known as “bionic legs”, which will be available to service personnel who have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and will offer them
greater stability and mobility . According to the BBC News story this is expected to benefit 160 individuals. Bryn Parry, chief executive & founder of Help for Heroes charity, said: “Our wounded servicemen, women and veterans deserve the best. This announcement will help transform lives. We must remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that each individual must be given the best prosthetic for them.”
This is great news and is quite rightly being trumpeted by the MOD and Government but there is much more that needs to be done and not everyone affected by their service has an injury that can be seen.
The Murrison Report published in 2010 set out a range of issues facing veterans and serving personnel who are affected by their service. The veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress received 1,257 new referrals in 2009, an increase of two-thirds since 2005. However, veterans with mental illness characteristically seek help late and may not do so at all. Their reticence is largely the result of stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Each year 24,000 servicemen leave the Armed Forces. Of these, 10,000 have served in recent operations. This means that the 32,738 GPs in England and 58 English Mental Health Trusts will receive on average one veteran every 16 months and 413 a year respectively. Whilst most achieve a seamless transfer to civilian life, for a minority the experience is traumatic.
Sadly stories like that of Harry Killick are ocurring as a result of inadequate support for soldiers, sailors & airmen affected by mental ill-health and they only rarely if at all make the headlines. So while Help for Heroes is “all about the blokes” it’s not all about the legs! Help for Heroes have helped Mental Health charities such as Big White Wall an online support resource and Combat Stress and you can read more about that help here.
So while today’s news is great, there is lot’s more to be done and helping me raise a few quid for Help for Heroes is one way you can do something to help.