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Fri, 3 July 2020

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What the Future Holds – how we support the Armed Forces community will help define our national identity Commercial
By Forces in Mind Trust
Press releases

Negative labelling of our Veterans may well put the defence of our nation at risk

Dr Hugh Milroy | Veterans Aid

2 min read Member content

Veterans Aid have responded to Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood who is reported as saying he fears employers could be put off hiring veterans over concerns they are ‘doolally’.

Veterans Aid has been on record as saying this for years and been roundly vilified and ostracised for doing so.

Two years ago I wrote to a Minister in the defence community explaining the reality of what we were seeing, from a frontline perspective, on a daily basis.

That letter was not even acknowledged!  So it’s great to hear agreement at  last - however belatedly. The 'hero, villain and victim' tags for veterans simply don’t help anyone.

Politicians, the media, the ‘Old Boys Club' and the Third Sector continue to exploit and promote exaggerated part-truths.

Scaremongering, which nearly always involves unverified round numbers relating to veterans in adversity, is one the key tools.

For example, the number of genuine veterans on the streets of the UK is tiny, but this doesn't seem to stop almost daily exaggeration and exploitation of the issue. 

Challenging the script is a constant battle.

I've been involved with my organisation for over 24 years and what I've seen and dealt with is almost always unrelated to military service.

I have always believed that if we continued to portray veterans in such negative, stereotypical ways young men and women will be deterred from joining the military.

Guess what - we now have a recruiting problem!  In the end those who have used, and continue to use, such negative labelling, may well put the defence of our nation at risk. 


In reponse to the Defence Select Committee report in to veterans mental health earlier this Summer' Veterans Aid stated: 'the mental health myth now exposed is but one of many used to assign unique vulnerabilities to veterans.' Read the full article here


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