A FLAGSHIP unit to improve mental health in the armed forces will be delayed for two years, it has been revealed.
The ministers pledged to set up a new team to provide rapid support to troops before they suffer from post-traumatic stress or other combat conditions.
Almost half of all medical leaves in the past year were due to mental health issues, according to a recent analysis.
But Armed Forces Minister Leo Docherty announced that the new team would not be ready until November 2023.
The number of staff seen by the specialized mental health service of the Ministry of Defense has fallen by 1,900 in four years to just 3,157.
Shadow Secretary of Defense John Healey said: “Mental health issues are on the rise, but the Defense Department’s specialist unit is helping fewer staff and ministers admit support will not be in place for two years.
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“This is another hollow commitment with no follow-up action to help our men and women on duty.”
Over 10,000 soldiers have been fired due to mental health issues over the past 20 years.
Responding to Mr Healey, Mr Docherty said: ‘The new high-readiness mental health team is expected to be established by November 2023, but its training and some delivery will begin as soon as staff are available.
“There will be two new teams, one within each of the two new multi-purpose medical regiments, made up of mental health nurses with access to a psychiatrist on call.”
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