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Liverpool hosts city's first veterans welfare conference

PREVENTING suicides after leaving the army will be addressed by veterans at Liverpool Town Hall today for the city’s first conference dedicated to their welfare.

The Liverpool Veterans Welfare Conference is supported by the city’s mayor Joe Anderson and aims to raise awareness about the “unique challenges veterans face transitioning from military service to civilian life.”

One of the organisers, veteran Dave Gannon, told the Morning Star: “Liverpool has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country. It was and still is a main recruitment ground.

“We will highlight the services and facilities that are available to veterans in Liverpool from the local authority, who are actually doing a much better job than the rest of the country.

“So we hope members of other local authorities will pick up on this.”

The event is free and runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Speakers will include ex-soldier Gus Hales, who is campaigning for better mental health care for veterans.

He will talk about strategies to prevent veterans taking their own lives.

“When people join the military at a young age they are moulded into a particular individual,” he told the Star. “So when they leave, there’s got to be some kind of deprogramming.

“They should spend a couple of months in civilian clothes before leaving, and they need housing and a job lined up.

“If these things are in place then they will be less likely to develop mental health issues.”

Mr Hales also said he is writing to the Veterans Minister Tobias Ellwood to highlight the “appalling treatment” of disabled ex-RAF man Jonathan Williams, who the Morning Star revealed this week has been denied benefits.

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