Northern Ireland Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 'highest in world'
An Ulster Unionist MLA and former soldier has expressed his concern after a report suggested that more people suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Northern Ireland than in any other country in the world.
According to a major report by University of Ulster psychologists and Omagh-based trauma treatment experts, Northern Ireland has the world’s highest recorded rates of PTSD, ahead of war-hit regions such as Israel and Lebanon, at a yearly cost to the public purse of around £175m.
The Northern Ireland study shows that violence has been a distinctive cause of mental health problems for around 18,000 people, or one in four of the total PTSD category.
The researchers, taking 2008 as a sample year, estimated the combined direct and indirect costs of PTSD here to be £172.8m.
Of that, the cost associated with PTSD linked to a conflict-related traumatic event was £46.7m.
East Belfast MLA Michael Copeland said the figures did not make for pleasant reading.
“From a personal point of view, as a former soldier I know only too well the effect the stresses of military duty can have on you long after your service has finished,” he said. “Every week I have ex-servicemen and women coming to my constituency office to seek advice on how they can receive help to cope with PTSD.”