There had been concerns raised that more Falklands veterans had taken their own lives since the conflict than died in action. However, the statistics show that 7% of the deaths of Falklands veterans since the campaign were attributed to suicide, significantly less than the number of deaths during the campaign.
An MOD spokesperson said:
Every suicide is a tragedy and our thoughts remain with the families and relatives of all those lost who bravely served in the Falklands conflict.
Whilst this extensive study suggests that the rate of suicide amongst those who served in the conflict is in fact lower than the UK civilian population we are clear that the mental health of our personnel and veterans remains a top priority. That is why we have committed £7.2 million to ensure we have extensive mental health support in place for everyone who needs it.
This includes tailored NHS mental health services and a 24-hour helpline with Combat Stress so Service personnel and veterans can seek help at any time.
We would encourage any Falklands veterans or serving personnel who need help to come forward to access the wide range of support available.
Highlights include the extension of military mental healthcare to qualifying Service leavers for up to 6 months after discharge and the uplift in the numbers of mental healthcare professionals. Others include setting up a 24-hour helpline with Combat Stress so Service personnel and veterans can seek help at any time, and making available access to the Big White Wall well-being website for Service personnel, their families and veterans.
Some ex-Service personnel delay seeking help on service termination because of the view that civilian health professionals do not understand military life and the context of their problems.
A key aim is therefore provision of services for veterans which are multifaceted, including both healthcare interventions and social support, and involve public and charitable organisations working together. The government has also provided advice for NHS GPs in the form of an e-learning package for managing veterans’ health issues.