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Mental health `timebomb` warning



Former SAS soldier Andy McNab has warned that Britain was sitting on a "timebomb" of future severe mental health problems among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

He predicted that without improved care a shocking number of those fighting in the "war on terror" would go on to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - and in some cases commit suicide.

The soldier-turned-writer also released a new survey revealing that two-thirds of UK adults think the Government's treatment of ex-servicemen and women is "disgraceful". Three-quarters believe care for veterans' psychological condition is "inadequate", and 49% would pay an extra penny in the pound of income tax to help returning service personnel with financial troubles.

Mr McNab tackles these issues in his new non-fiction memoir, Seven Troop, which looks at what happened to the men he served with in the SAS until 1993.

Two of the members of his unit have since killed themselves and a third is in prison after shooting his girlfriend dead.

NHS provision is "totally inadequate" for dealing with the estimated 15% of veterans who will suffer some form of PTSD, Mr McNab said.

He added: "Since I left the forces some 15 years ago, the situation for ex-service personnel simply hasn't improved. I've seen for myself the appalling way that our soldiers are hung out to dry.

"The idea held by the Government that the majority of service personnel experience a smooth transition into civilian life is delusional and largely false.

"Living in the outside world when discharged is very hard and many ex-Armed Forces personnel experience huge difficulties reintegrating. Years of service institutionalise men and women who are then thrust back into society with minimal co-ordination and long term support. There is a pervading sense of literally being 'thrown out of the club'."

Mr McNab stressed that responsibility for dealing with the problem lay with the Government rather than the Ministry of Defence (MoD). "The military are doing their bit but they are restricted by their funds," he said. "The system says once they (service personnel) leave, they are within the NHS system. There is this timebomb and the NHS won't be able to cope with it."


Well-known member
Jun 28, 2008
Yorkshire, UK
Do you know what, I can believe it!

My friends a nurse and when she was in her first year she spent some time on a mental health ward, and said to me there's no money it at all (around here anyways) and she's completely shocked at how I've been messed around.
If mental health was given more money and better training they might be ready if the veterans from Iraq/Afghanistan do suffer from PTSD. It doesn't matter if your an ex-serviceman or a member of the public with a mental disorder the MH services around here are shocking.
lucid scream

lucid scream

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2008
Looking down from the bridge
weve got the same problems in the US. fully 20-25% of all homeless people are veterans. there have also been 3 suicides in this area this year, of veterans unable to cope.
makes perfect sense to me, if you train someone to kill, send them to do it, they watch not only the enemy but innocent men women and children dieing daily, then they are supposed to go home to thier family and white picket fences and live the American dream? THATS crazy.


Well-known member
Founding Member
Jan 7, 2008
There was a Falklands vet in my mind support group, wouldn't take meds but liked illegal drugs, he turned up because he was in a homeless hostel and the women who was dealing with his housing had pressurised him.

I remember him saying when he was arrested by the police they were nice to him when his ex wife phoned up, i can attest that the police are not nice to common garden schitsos which would have been the diagnosis if he had taken meds

He stopped coming once he was housed, as i said "He's got what he wants out of the group"

The monistry of defence say that gven the ages of the troops it's not surprising that some develop mental health problems

I was saying to a friend who developed schitzoprenia in germany when the army was there that now they'd send him to iraq, he said very funny, he never talks about it, i get the impression it was hell and the army didn't understand