More troop suicides than battle victims

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MORE British soldiers and veterans committed suicide last year than were killed in battle, it has been reported.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that in 2012 seven serving soldiers killed themselves, while a further 14 died in suspected suicides but inquests had yet to be held.

The Government does not record suicides among former soldiers, but an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama found at least 29 veterans also took their own lives last year.

The 50 suicides compares with 40 soldiers who died in action in Afghanistan during the same period. A spokesman for the MoD said suicide among members of the Armed Forces remains “extremely rare” and is lower than comparative rates in the civilian population.

Panorama said it wrote to 
every coroner in the country to 
ask for the names of soldiers and veterans who killed themselves last year and also analysed newspaper reports of coroners’ inquests.

Lance Sergeant Dan Collins who survived a bomb blast while serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2009, killed himself while still a serving soldier on New Year’s Eve 2011 after suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the BBC reported.

His mother Deana told Panorama her son was a “victim of war” and his name should be added to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire which honours the military casualties of every conflict since the Second World War.

“Soldiers with PTSD are exactly the same. They’re victims of war and they should be treated exactly the same,” she said.

An MoD spokesman said: “Every suicide is a tragedy and our thoughts remain with the families of all those who have sadly taken their own lives.

“Mental health of our personnel and veterans is a top priority for the Government, that is why we have committed £7.4m to ensure there is extensive mental health support in place for everyone who needs it.”