Flagship unit to improve mental health in armed forces to be delayed for two years

A FLAGSHIP unit to improve mental health in the armed forces will be delayed for two years, it has been revealed.

Ministers promised to set up a new team to get rapid support to troops before they suffer from post-traumatic stress or other combat conditions.

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The unit was intended to provide rapid support to troops before they suffered post-traumatic stressCredit: PA
Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey said:

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Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey says: ‘Mental health issues are rising’Credit: PA: Press Association

According to a recent analysis, nearly half of all medical leaves in the past year were due to mental health issues.

But Armed Forces Minister Leo Docherty announced that the new team would not be ready until November 2023.

The number of personnel seen by the Defense Ministry’s specialist mental health service has fallen by 1,900 in four years to just 3,157.

Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey said: ‘Mental health issues are rising, but the specialist MoD service is helping fewer staff and ministers admit the support won’t be in place for another two years.

“This is another hollow commitment with no follow-up action to help our service men and women.”

More than 10,000 soldiers have been discharged due to mental health issues over the past 20 years.

Responding to Mr Healey, Mr Docherty said: “The new High Readiness Force mental health team is expected to be established by November 2023, but its training and part of its delivery will begin as soon as personnel will be 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.

More than 10,000 soldiers have been discharged due to mental health issues in the past 20 years

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More than 10,000 soldiers have been discharged due to mental health issues in the past 20 yearsCredit: Getty
The British army faces the deepest cuts in more than 300 years to leave it barely bigger than US special forces

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