Mental health problems among soldiers low despite reports of troops being overstretched

The number of soldiers in the Armed Forces with a mental health problem remains low despite reports of troops being overstretched, government figures show.

Official data revealed that the number of service personnel assessed with a mental disorder for the first time was low about five individuals per 1,000 strength, or 0.5% of the total Armed Forces population.

The numbers of service personnel assessed with post-traumatic stress disorder for the first time during the same period was also very low, about 0.03% of the total Armed Forces population.

The figures cover the period April-June 2007.

A report by the Defence Select Committee earlier this week warned that the Armed Forces were overstretched, with troops spending more than the recommended time overseas.

Under secretary of state for defence Derek Twigg said: “We take very seriously the risk of service personnel developing mental illness and we are committed to providing them with the best possible care.

“Defence medical services work hard to ensure that individuals have access to advice and treatment at the right time. We have put in place measures to increase awareness at all levels, and to mitigate the development of operational stresses.”

The Ministry of Defence has more than 150 mental health professionals working across the service.

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