An Aberdeen councillor and RAF veteran has made an impassioned plea for citizens to pay greater attention to the mental health of servicemen and women.
Last month, council chiefs announced new plans to make the Granite City Scotland’s “friendliest” community for veterans and service personnel.
Under the plan, around 1.5% of the 2,000 council houses due to be built over the next five years will be set aside for veterans or serving men and women.
Veterans will also be given advice on education for their children, and on employment and healthcare.
Many veterans struggle to adjust to civilian life when they return home and find themselves living on the streets.
A high proportion, particularly those who served in war zones, also have problems with the likes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can also make accessing services more difficult.
This year there have been a spate of suicides among Scottish soldiers.
In August, it emerged that father-of-two Jamie Davies of 4 Scots, a former infantry soldier, a veteran in Northern Ireland and two other ex-forces personnel whose identities have not been revealed killed themselves in a fortnight.
Defence chiefs don’t collate suicide figures for former servicemen and women, so the scale of the problem is difficult to gauge.
George Street and Harbour Conservative councillor Ryan Houghton reflected on the recent world mental health day and the story of Aberdonian John Cruickshank, the last surviving WW2 recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Mr Cruickshank, a former flying officer, piloted a Catalina anti-submarine flying boat from Sullom Voe in Shetland on July 17, 1944, patrolling north into the Norwegian Sea.
Attacking a u-boat which had been spotted on the surface, his Catalina was hit by fire which killed his navigator and injured his second pilot and two other crewmates.
Mr Cruickshank himself was struck in 72 places, but still managed to release depth charges to sink the submarine.
In an open letter Mr Houghton, wrote: “One month from now, people across Aberdeen and the UK will gather to remember those who have made a great sacrifice in service to the country and that of their families.
“The greater loss still is those who make it home, but we lose to suicide as a result of mental health.”