Stephen speaking up for veterans in the chamber
Stephen speaking up for veterans in the chamber

Portsmouth South MP continues campaign for our brave forces during debate on veteran strategy

MP for Portsmouth South today pressed ahead with his efforts to improve mental health and suicide data collection of our veterans. Mr Morgan spoke in the general debate in the House of Commons today on Government’s recently published veterans’ strategy and called for a duty to be imposed on coroners to record veteran status.

The UK is almost unique amongst its allies in not requiring coroners to mark individuals as veterans – USA, Canada, and Australia all do. This means that data on veteran suicide rates is limited and unreliable, with research suggesting it has been repeatedly underestimated by the Ministry of Defence.

Stephen, alongside the Sunday People, Portsmouth News, and local veteran Stephen James, has been campaigning for proper data collection, claiming the Government is turning a blind eye to veteran mental health.

Further, the MP praised a new app ‘All Call Signs’ developed by Portsmouth veterans providing peer-to-peer communication for veterans and serving personnel to help understand stresses and struggles that come with daily life in and out of uniform.

However, Minister Tobias Ellwood today again refused to commit to implementing the change.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It’s really disappointing that the Government won’t take this simple and vital step to improving mental health services for brave servicemen and women. 

I am genuinely at a loss to understand why. It’s simple, it’s inexpensive, and it’s incredibly important to fulfilling our commitment to veterans.

Today might be a setback, but our local efforts continue. We owe it to the courageous men and women of our armed forces to tackle this issue head on, but we can’t start to do so without proper understanding of its scale. The Government has to step up.”

According to heartbreaking research by SSAFA, 62% of veterans feel undervalued by society, and Mr Morgan believes action to improve life for veterans doesn’t have to hugely costly or complex to be effective.

Responding to the publication of the veterans’ strategy, the city MP said in his speech:

“I’m passionate about ensuring our government, our public services and economy works to support service personnel both during their service and beyond, during the transition back to civilian life.

This strategy is, at least, a start. But it is specific and effective policy that is needed because the challenges veterans facing veterans currently are serious. They deserve a response of equal weight”.

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