VETERANS’ MENTAL HEALTH QUESTION

Maurice Corry MSP and the Veterans’ Badge. Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Democrat reporter

Deaths from suicide have been dubbed the “epidemic of our time” by military officials, according to West of Scotland List MSP Maurice Corry.

He told the Holyrood Parliament: “Over the past two months, 14 former and serving British military personnel are thought to have taken their own lives. It is likely that many of those individuals suffered from the delayed onset of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Considering those tragic events, the United Kingdom Government has brought forward its plans for a high-intensity mental health programme.”

He asked the First Minister confirm whether there are any plans to provide a similar mental health programme in Scotland to help our veterans with serious service-related illnesses such as PTSD?

Nicola Sturgeon replied: “I am glad that the UK Government is taking seriously what is, of course, principally its responsibility, given the reserved nature of the issue. The Scottish Government also takes it very seriously.

“The health—mental and physical—of our veterans is of paramount importance. I have appointed a veteran’s minister—Graeme Dey has that responsibility—and we have a veterans’ commissioner. We do a range of work to support our veterans, and that is absolutely right and proper. The work that we do to support veterans in Scotland has been widely commended and praised.

She added: “I am very happy to ask Graeme Dey, as the veterans’ minister, to correspond with or indeed meet the member [Maurice Corry] to discuss what more we can do in Scotland to support our veterans, who absolutely deserve not just our appreciation but our on-going support, and, of course, our encouragement to continue to make a contribution to society after they leave our armed forces.”

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