logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo
star Bookmark: Tag Tag Tag Tag Tag
United Kingdom

TV shows putting off Army recruits by peddling 'myth' soldiers are more likely to be mentally ill

Britain’s Armed Forces are battling a major manpower crisis as they ‘haemorrhage’ thousands of soldiers a year, a defence minister has warned.

Tobias Ellwood said there is a ‘collective naivety’ about the problems facing the military, warning the UK will fall behind its adversaries if it does not invest more in defence.

Speaking at an event in Parliament yesterday, the veteran’s minister and former soldier warned the Armed Forces have to make do with battle tanks that are 20 years old.

And he claimed the staffing crisis is further aggravated by the ‘growing myth’ peddled by TV series such as the BBC’s Bodyguard that soldiers are ‘broken’ by war.

Tobias Ellwood, who has ruled out running in the Tory leadership race, told the event on modernising defence: ‘I am concerned there is a myth that if you join the Armed Forces, somehow you will be affected by mental health'

Mr Ellwood said he was ‘concerned’ those considering signing up were put off by the idea that serving in the military causes mental health issues, saying ‘nothing could be further from the truth’.

Speaking about the military’s struggle to retain soldiers, he said: ‘Our Armed Forces are shrinking. We are actually haemorrhaging around 2,000 every single year, net. We need to change that. We need to have a conversation with the nation and say it is good to be in the Armed Forces.’

He added: ‘We must strengthen our hard power, we must increase our defence spending, we must ask ourselves what role we want to play and with that will come a cost. I have a concern there is a collective naivety by our nation.’

Bodyguard’s finale drew 10.4million viewers – the highest audience for a UK show last year barring the World Cup.

In the hit drama, Scottish actor Richard Madden plays a protection officer suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after leaving the Army.

Mr Ellwood, who has ruled out running in the Tory leadership race, told the event on modernising defence: ‘I am concerned there is a myth that if you join the Armed Forces, somehow you will be affected by mental health – you might consider taking your life, you might end up doing drugs.

Tobias Ellwood said there is a ‘collective naivety’ about the problems facing the military, warning the UK will fall behind its adversaries if it does not invest more in defence

‘Nothing could be further from the truth. You’re less likely to be affected by those things than your civilian peers.’ He added the ‘growing myth’ surrounding military service and a link to mental health issues is ‘not helped by TV storylines such as the Bodyguard’.

Making his pitch for more money to be injected into the department, Mr Ellwood said: ‘The scale of what we are doing is minimal compared with what we were capable of before.

‘Back in the 1980s, MoD spending was on a par with health and education, and ever since the end of the Cold War, every single year it’s slid back and back.

‘Our main battle tanks are 20 years old. The French and Russians have upgraded theirs two or three times in that same space.’

He added: ‘Our Armed Forces are aware of this, our adversaries are aware of this.’

In a wide-ranging speech, he also said he was more concerned about cyber-attacks than the use of nuclear weapons.

‘I personally feel that cyber weapons systems will become more dangerous than atomic weapons. We know who is in the atomic weapon club,’ he said.

He said cyber-attacks were, by contrast, ‘all clandestine’, adding: ‘You don’t have to be a nation state to have this capability. You simply need a laptop and a lot of coffee.’

Mr Ellwood also called for China to be given more of a role on the international stage given its growing economic and military influence.

‘We need to allow them to join the international top table in a way that they actually recognise and agree to,’ he said, warning the world risks ‘falling into a second Cold War’ if the West does not embrace China’s rise. 

All rights and copyright belongs to author:
Themes
ICO