MENTAL illness among British soldiers is becoming a growing cause for concern, official figures reveal.

Army figures show that medical discharges for stress, PTSD and anxiety have increased every year since 2012-13.

Since 2013 a total of 2,263 troops from all three of the armed forces have been medically discharged with mental health problems.

New figures show the number of squaddies discharged suffering from depression has tripled in the past six years - from 32 in 2012-13 to 104 in 2017-18.

Cases of PTSD, stress and anxiety problems also rose over the same period, with 428 leaving the forces in last year compared to 188.

A further 3,500 troops are also currently down-graded with mental health issues which means they cannot take part in front line combat operations.

The suicide rate in the armed forces and veterans communities also appears to be increasing at the same time as reported cases of depression.

Last year more than 80 veterans are believed to have taken their own lives.

It emerged last week that seven British service personnel are believed to have committed suicide in the first seven weeks of the year - almost already half the number who died from suicide in 2018.

A further five veterans are also believed to have taken their own lives this year.

Former Army chief Lord Dannatt, who has campaigned for better mental health treatment for British troops, said:“I am very concerned by the rise in the number of Armed Forces personnel suffering from mental health issues.

“Although this may in part reflect a greater understanding of mental health and a greater willingness by individuals to come forward for help, nevertheless the numbers indicate that all is not well in Defence.”

An MoD spokesman said: “We take the mental health of our personnel extremely seriously and we encourage anyone who may be struggling to access the wide range of support available.

“We have increased on spending on mental health services to £22million a year, launched a 24 hour hotline for service personnel and our mental health and wellbeing strategy is aimed at tackling the perceived stigma around coming forward and asking for help.”