There has been a “significant increase” in the number of UK veterans of the Afghanistan conflict seeking mental health treatment, says a charity.
Combat Stress said it had received 358 new Afghanistan veteran referrals in 2013, a 57% rise on the 228 in 2012.
The charity, currently supporting more than 660 Afghanistan veterans, said the issue would become heightened as UK forces prepared to leave the country.
The government said it had invested £7.4m in mental health services.
Combat Stress said it had found that veterans generally waited an average of 13 years after serving before they sought help, but this had fallen to an average of 18 months for Afghanistan veterans.
The mental health charity said its total caseload of more than 5,400 veterans across the UK was the largest in its 95-year history.