Low incidence of PTSD, psychiatric disorders among SAF personnel sent overseas: Maliki Osman

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) national servicemen. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

While more than 6,000 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel have been deployed overseas over the last two decades, only one was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his deployment.

This was revealed in Parliament on Monday (19 March) by Senior Minister of State for Defence Maliki Osman, who was responding to queries from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Dennis Tan.

The Workers’ Party member had asked about the number of SAF personnel found to be suffering from PTSD or other psychiatric ailments following overseas operations and what support is available to them.

Maliki noted that the incidence of psychological disorders among SAF personnel on overseas deployment is “not higher than SAF personnel in general or the incidence among the general population”.

“The low rate can be attributed to the selection, pre-deployment training and mental health support system in place for our servicemen,” he added.

For instance, good IT connections also allow for overseas-based servicemen – even those in remote areas like Iraq and Afghanistan – to regularly stay in touch with their family members. Upon returning to Singapore, all SAF personnel also undergo a psychological assessment so that early intervention can be implemented, if necessary, said Maliki.

He noted that compensation for SAF personnel facing psychological or psychiatric disorders follows the overall framework for injuries and disabilities arising from service.

“Consults and treatment of affected personnel are fully subsidised at government restructured hospitals, clinics and community hospitals as long as required, even after his term of service,” said Maliki.

“For servicemen whose disorders were due to service but manifested after they have left the SAF, they are also eligible to the same terms of treatment,” he added.