Compensation paid to these servicemen over the past 14 years by the Department of Defense now stands at £ 126.6million. Most of the payments went to soldiers devastated by the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, although some date back to military actions in Northern Ireland. Payments have been made to service members who have suffered mental health issues as a result of their military activity, which can leave them emotionally crippled after returning from service.
A soldier’s claim while in Iraq left the Department of Defense with a bill of £ 2.4million. Experts on the disorder say people with the disorder can experience nightmares and flashbacks. They may experience an increased sense of alertness and, in extreme cases, may be catapulted back into an imaginary battlefield or explosion after a specific “trigger event”.
The vast majority of payments were made under the Defense Ministry’s Armed Forces Compensation Program (AFCS), which saw 4,020 settlements paid for a total of £ 58million, or £ 14,000. each. Some of the toughest regulations include annual income payments, which cost an additional £ 51million.
There have also been 84 claims settled by the courts, when military personnel who think they should receive higher pay decide to bypass the AFCS.
Jeff Harrison, CEO of Combat Stress, a veterans mental health charity, said, “PTSD can have a huge impact. It can lead to anxiety, anger, depression, isolation, substance abuse and, in some cases, suicide. .
“It is very difficult to prevent it. However, good leadership, rotating troops to avoid exposing them to continued psychological trauma, mental illness briefings, and easy access to clinical services all help.
The Department of Defense said, “We recognize that personnel can be subjected to traumatic experiences and experience stress as a result. We provide strong mental resilience training before, during and after deployment.”