Vetrans twice as likely to commit suicide

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by bobath, Jun 12, 2007.

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  1. A US report found that male vetrans are twice as likely to commit suicide than non-vetrans.

    Even in the states with there massively funded Vetrans Assosiation, and rampent national pride. Makes you wonder why the same sort of report hasn't been done here, that would make intersting reading.
  2. A sad trend to read about. I think that PTSD often takes a few years to kick in in many cases. All the more reason to keep in touch with old colleagues to keep each other sane, and I think shows the value of having outlets such as ARRSE to vent a good old rant once in a while rather than bottling up the hate.
    I met a guy in a bar (not like that, purely plantonic) out here a few weeks ago. Had left two years ago after over ten years in as was hating the constant tours. He'd lost touch with everybody he served with and was very down on the whole situation. I encouraged him to get back in touch, and in fact had a mutual friend I urged him to contact. Otherwise easy to see everything that Labour are fecking up, and get the red mist rising I think. Or withdrawal and isolation in other cases.
    Here's to everybody contacting an old colleague out of the blue once in a while for a good old natter and do a kind of social sniff test.
  3. Dear Jockass,

    Keep him off the booze and that will help.

    Amazing that it's only now that the media are catching up with this story. I know that producers at the BBC have tried to get stuff like this on air for the last three or even four years, but the Corporation's commissioning editors were just not interested.

    In fact there are two stories:

    1/. The horrors of what people have been through and the lack of help they get from the NHS.

    2/. The shocking refusal of the government to associate itself with this problem because it is politically damaging to them.

    Bugger, that's three stories.
  4. The Professor who is leading the research into mental health for the Forces said on the radio yesterday that it was impossible to calculate the suicide rates for retired military personnel in the UK because the death certificate does not record that someone had served in the Forces.

    I agree that the death certificate does not record such data but the epidemiology data for suicide rates will have been extracted and our Pensions' Office has a record of everyone who has served and it should be possible to correlate the two indices! Time and money would be the inhibiting factors....!

    He specifically mentioned the lack of data on those who served in the Falkland Islands conflict, but that had me yelling at the radio because all those who served will have been awarded the South Atlantic Medal and their full details will be stashed away somewhere!

  5. I'm sure the death cetificate would record a death by suicide. That could be cross referneced with the MOD records, including theaters served in, to find the numbers.

    Given the small size of the Forces I doubt and usefull date would be gained by comparing it to the rest of the country, but it could be used to try and force HMG's hand in changing the treatment of vetrans.
    Mind you that's why it'll never happen.
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    The list is endless for veterans in America and what do we have ?????????
    a pathetic NHS which does not function for Veterans, Members of Parliament with their heads so up their own a**es with their own benefits and allowances ignoring the veterans needs.They have a cheek to come out one day in the year to remember those who have died for their political mistakes.
  7. It is just plain wrong that the step up in operations and subsequent casualties over the last few years has been met with such deafening lack of support after discharge, or indeed while serving obviously.
  8. TJ, thats a bloody long list, and I suspect that it is not even all of what the VA does. Don't slag off the NHS, they have their own problems and overstretch thanks to this league table culture we have. The poeple on the front line are mostly hard working and very dedicated. They can only do so much with what they have.

    In the BBC program about vetrans they said they had an annule budget of $70billion. I know they have a bigger population and all but I am sure that even as a percentage it is massivly higher than what we get from HMG.
  9. Bobath and jackass,

    Wanted to quote you both, but when it comes to using the internet, I am significantly mongish.

    As regards the NHS, bobath, they really can't cope.

    A soldier who was forced to go on one of their 'freestyle' psychological sharing courses told me that the leader of the group went around the table to ask what issues were in the forefront of people's minds.

    "I had a car crash", "I haven't opened my post for five years because I don't understand how to pay my taxes", "I'm fat and I hate myself", etc, etc, etc.

    The chap I met said: "I shot a child in Basra".

    Poor fkucer was asked by the 'leqder' the very next day not to turn up because he'd "upset the rest of the group".

    The NHS, mate, is an issue.

    Jockass, I can only agree with your sentiments. And we haven't heard the last of this debate by a bloody long chalk.

    Best to all

  10. The problems with mental health services in the UK are massive and been going on for years.
    In London In-patient services will typically have an occupancy rate of about 120%. Its not all down to funding though, there just aren't enough professionals in the field who are versed in working with Military based PTSD. The Army did have an excellent (if slightly off the wall consultant) but too small a service to be truly helpful.
    The other issue is that many people need to be ready to receive treatment and often the only link is their GP who has often little knowledge of Psychiatry and even less of the Military. It is sad that this happens and will more than likely increase rather than get better as more tours are completed back to back with little time for mental recouperation.
    Group therapy is really only helpful if the group have similar issues they need sharing, even individual therapy needs a counsellor who knows what you do for living not just what your job is.
    I have a colleague who was repeatedly attacked by someone they worked with in a Psychiatric setting - biting, scratching, choking, hairpulling. After about 1 year they went to the therapist provided by her trust and the therapist told her she didn't have to put up with and to tell the patient to stop! Genius!
  11. You can't do these things in isolation; you can only draw accurate conclusions from a comparison of both populations; those who have served and those who haven't, adjusted for age and sex.

    It's specialist work for people with Maths degrees - and they don't come cheap!

  12. Not sure how true the Statistic are !!!!!

    At the Start of Brothers In Arms Track I for get the true numbers but of the 255 Killed in The Falklands conlict but over 300 have committed Suicide.

    Speaking to a mate who joined up just after the conflict with teh Paras alot came back messed up.

    So doesnt really suprise me
  13. It's worth remembering (and I've said this on other topics as well) that the USA doesn't have anything like the NHS, in fact the VA is about the nearest thing it has to an NHS. The free healthcare is still used by US military as a selling point for recruitment. From what I've heard it doesn't work terribly well and is full of more elderly vets with general health problems, just like the NHS in fact (if you replace 'vets' with 'civpop' and in no way implying that they shouldn't be cared for because they are elderly!).

    It's a reasonable assumption that if the US did have an NHS type system then it wouldn't have the VA programme as well (or if it did a much reduced version of it). NHS budget for this year is something in the order of £100bn, but comparing %ages is a little meaningless as it all depends on how the money is spent.

    JJS is right in many ways. Civ psych services simply don't have the expertise in military PTSD, as in general population terms it's very rare and the will/funding isn't there from management for more training when we are still hugely short of basic CBT therapists, never mind the amount of specialised training required for any form of PTSD.

    I can only recall one client (out of about 650) that was ex-military and PTSD diagnosed who was seen by my (admittedly rural) local CMHT when I worked there. Obviously there may be more in other areas, but it isn't as common as you might think. There are many practitioners who work with PTSD as a result of child sexual abuse (much more common, sadly) but most of these are non-statutory and some do a very good job of it.

    There is still a lot of PTSD expertise in the army, certainly in the DCMH I last spent time with. Many of these practitioners are ex-forces and have very good track records.

    The NHS certainly is an issue, but it's difficult to see how that's going to change in the short/medium term as psychiatry has always been seen as the Cinderella service (see above re training).

    I have a recollection that Prof Simon Wesseley et al at King's either are or have been doing research into suicides but can't recall any data.

    Last point would be that death certificates certainly don't have 'suicide' written on them! This is outwith the doctor who signs the cert's role. He can only put down the mechanism of death ie gunshot, asphyxiation by hanging etc.

    Coroners decide whether the death was suicide/misadventure etc. It's worth noting that many deaths that health professionals are sure (in our own minds) are suicides aren't recorded as such because there isn't concrete evidence that they meant to die (a note for example). They are often recorded as open verdicts. Obviously suicide has implications for life assurance, so it's not a verdict that's easily given unless proof exists for it.

    As a consequence it isn't as simple as it may first appear to get accurate figures for completed suicides.
  14. Are there any Veteran self-help groups?

    You know, the sort of group that can meet one day a week to discuss their issues with people from similar backgrounds, followed by a couple of jars?

    Are there any informal organisations along these lines?
  15. To all the above - exactly. The resources are not there, the experienced NHS staff are not there, and the general population havent got a clue. After WW2 the majority of servicemen when they came back could find sympathy as so many had served. Althought there was no doubt alot of stiffupperlip'd to it culturally then the guys knew what each other had gone through. Now, the BB gawping generation havent really got a clue, nor the inclination to find out other than casually asking what it was like as if sharing holiday stories.
    Going back to the WW2 example plenty still are meeting up and revisiting france (or the falklands to use another example) all these years later. Maybe it was an advantage with generally all having the generally similar service timeframe whereas people leave individually in over a rolling period. But too many people seem to be being cast into an unsupportive wilderness.
    Its a bit early to go touring round Al Amarah and Sangin or wherever in coach parties just yet obviously, but I cant help thinking that more can be done to ensure that regimental organisations get people together more often. Invite to rugby tournaments or other such stuff to bring the old boys into the regimental fold now and again. Those that turn up get a chance to chat, those that don't, maybe a subtle and hopefully un-inquisitive call to see if anything is up. Not from some unknown, but from an NCO or soldier that was once a buddy. I hate to get all wishy washy and touchy feely, but there are guys obviously with nowhere to turn who are too proud to ask for help. But a friendly phonecall from an old buddy might swing him (or her) back into the network.
    Anyway, my 2p worth. I'm going to phone some of the boys over the next week anyway. Ahem, any excuse for a quiet beer and to yarn a few tall tales really obviously....