'Keep eye on veterans in crisis', Army widow says

  • Published
Jo and David JukesImage source, Family photo
Image caption,
Lance Corporal David Jukes served in the army for 25 years

An Army widow has said the government should keep live data of people leaving the forces to monitor levels of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans.

Jo Juke's husband, L/Cpl David Jukes, served in the Army for 25 years but took his life in October 2018 after suffering PTSD.

She said: "The MoD hasn't got any idea of how many people have taken their own lives and they have no live data of how many people are in crisis management."

The MoD has been asked for comment.

Mrs Jukes, who lives in Birmingham, asked: "How can they deal with something which they don't have any data on?

"I think we need to be looking at live data that informs the care that is given to veterans within their communities.

"There isn't anything like that which is going on at the moment and I don't know why it hasn't happened in all of these years."

Image caption,
Jo Jukes said there could have been a different outcome for her husband if they had known what help was available

Mrs Jukes said suicides among veterans could fall if the MoD could "keep an eye on people" via their close relatives, while they made the transition from the armed forces to civilian life.

"There should be some way for the families raising the alarm, that's going to help reduce the amount of suicides.

"If the MoD had let us know exactly what help was available instead of leaving it to primarily me to find out what services were out there to help David with his mental health, I think it would have been a different scenario."

Mrs Jukes said suicide levels among veterans could also be recorded through the creation of national guidelines for coroners to record whether a person had served in the armed forces and if PTSD played a part in them taking their life.

Her husband served in the Staffordshire Regiment, Rifles and other units during a 25-year career in the Army.

At the inquest, the coroner recorded that Mr Jukes had been an armed forces veteran on his death certificate. His cause of death was ruled as suicide, with a comment added in saying "services attributed mental health".

It was the first time in the UK a coroner had taken these steps, but it remains at the coroner's discretion and no national guidelines exist.

The Ministry of Justice has been asked for comment.

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