Blog by Jon Wheale, Parliamentary Candidate for Burton.
LFF members, I want to talk to you today about Veterans.
Those many men and women who have served with dignity and courage in our Armed Forces.
Much is said of conflict, but when the talking is over it is our Armed Forces and their families who deliver.
It is they who take risks and it is they who risk their lives in the line of duty and our behalf.
But there is a hidden cost. An issue all too often shamefully neglected. An issue which affects many who have served.
That issue is the mental health and the wellbeing of our veterans.
A small but significant number of Veterans leave the Armed Forces with psychological wounds. These can lead to depression, phobias, anxiety, relationship problems and, in some cases, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
These veterans are not statistics but sons and daughters, mothers and fathers – men and women who live in our communities.
Men and women who I have had the honour to serve alongside in places like Afghanistan. Who have given their all and deserve to be treated with the very best mental health care should they need it.
We must protect them – honour their courage and dignity.
I fear the short-sighted policies of this Tory-led government. I fear the consequences of taking apart vital services and support at a time when veterans will need those services more and more.
Across Britain, services which provide vital support are being cut to the bone.
In my home town of Burton, the Margaret Stanhope centre, a facility which did outstanding work caring for people with mental health issues has closed.
I pledge to work to ensure that there is good mental health care provided locally for veterans and for all.
Charities such as Combat Stress in Burton do incredible work, but without the support they need they face an uphill struggle.
For those who have served and fought for us and our country it is little to expect that they receive the support that they need.
I am pleased that Jim, the shadow Defence team and Labour stands up for the Armed Forces, for their families, and for veterans.
As Ed Miliband has said mental health care is so important
a One Nation Labour priority.
One Nation fit for heroes.