War Veterans’ Mental Health Drive

More ex-servicemen can now get free mental health assessments, the Ministry of Defence has announced. Veterans Minister Derek Twigg will announce an expansion of the Medical Assessment Programme (MAP). The programme was set up in 1993 to help servicemen returning from the first Gulf War.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “The extension will open up the assessment programme to all veterans with operational service since 1982 – thus including Falklands veterans. They can receive a free mental health assessment if they feel they have a condition linked to service. Veterans with operational service in the current Iraq and Afghan conflicts can also attend and get a free general medical assessment including mental health.”

The MAP was set up 14 years ago to help veterans who served in the first Gulf War. In recent years it has been extended to include Porton Down volunteers and those who have served in the current Iraq operations.

Mr Twigg said: “I am delighted to be able to announce that we are opening up the Medical Assessment Programme at St Thomas’ Hospital to a larger group of veterans. This is designed to help address service-related mental health issues amongst veterans.

“I hope our former service personnel make use of this excellent programme if they or their GP have any concerns that they are suffering from a medical condition linked to their military service. As Veterans Minister, I take the welfare of our former service personnel very seriously and I am always looking at how we can improve the support available when they leave the Armed Forces.”