Falklands veteran Gus Hales began a hunger strike on Monday to draw attention to the shocking increase in suicides among former forces personnel. In a Facebook video to explain his protest, Hales relates that since the Falklands war over thirty-six years ago, there have been over three hundred victims of suicide among ex-forces veterans.
But of those, more than fifty have taken place just in the last year.
Hales – whose own treatment for post-traumatic stress (PTSD) was unlawfully ended with no care plan or after-care – attributes the steep rise to the phenomenon of veterans being ‘discharged to nothing’ and predicts an ‘avalanche’ in the coming years as PTSD manifests in veterans of the Iraq war and Afghanistan conflict:
Veterans for Peace (VFP) are supporting Hales’ campaign. Management of PTSD is being left to overloaded charities because of a lack of support from the government.
Commenting on the video, David Gannon, VFP’s Liverpool representative, who two tours in Afghanistan and is campaigning for formal representation of veterans in the Labour Party, said:
Suicide in the Armed Forces, Veterans & Families (AFVF) Community is endemic and the government is shirking it’s responsibilities to those that were damaged by military service.
This is the exact reason why I am fighting for the political representation of the AFVF Community in the Labour movement.
The Trade Unions and the Labour Party need to get behind Gus on his protest especially at this time of year.
Please watch the video. Share it.
The government is not only failing veterans but discarding them, leading to a terrible toll in lives that is mirrored among disabled people and benefits claimants.
Theresa May and other Tories love to talk about the sacrifice and service of the UK’s armed forces – but their actions and inaction tell the despicable truth.
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