Everyone is joining in the 22 pushup challenge to raise awareness of PTSD amongst veterans, 22 being the number of American service veterans who commit suicide each day. As with all things viral it has its detractors and there is some scepticism about the accuracy of the statistics involved.
In the United Kingdom the Ministry of Defence maintains that mental health problems amongst its servicemen are in line with the general population – but the MoD does not have a particularly good track record for honesty when it comes to bad news.
Given the extensive and prolonged use of Lariam as the MoD’s anti-malarial of choice, long after the manufacturer identified it may induce potentially serious neuropsychiatric disorders, I’m personally inclined to disbelieve them.
Recent studies in the USA indicate that Lariam amplifies the effects of PTSD and some experts have suggested that the British Army now faces a mental health catastrophe.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of the statistics, servicemen suffering from PTSD deserve our support.
22 pushups is not a lot to ask.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.