BMJ - Mental Health and Overstretch - UK Forces

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by PartTimePongo, Aug 2, 2007.

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  1. This is very interesting and its glad to see some research happening. The mental health of services personnel is being affected by the current operational climate combined with under resourcing and an increasingly inflexible working regime. Add in the seemingly continual need to change and move for change sake and I'm suprised more personnel arent suffering. I wonder if there would ever be a survey or study of family members as well as they suffer as much.

  2. Conclusion:

    "Our results indicate that adherence to a clear and
    explicit policy on duration of each deployment may
    have beneficial effects on mental health. Overstretch
    in the UK armed forces may have consequences on
    problems at home, and deterioration of psychological
    health may be more apparent in those directly exposed
    to combat."

    May just be me, but isnt that obvious?
  3. Doubt it will make any difference to the Herr Broon's resolve in ensuring Op shoe string stays under budget. :shakefist:
  4. Hoy, stop having a go, every little helps, being cynical does not.

    Try living with it [PTSD] day in, day out and then gob off [knowing you - you'll have that and a lot more...].

    Just to say it won't change anything is a defeatist attitude..... chunter-chunter...
  5. Can we avoid drifting off topic please? This is important research, and it would be good to get opinion on it, qualified and otherwise.
  6. I can recommend Lucky Jim's postings on this subject elsewhere on this site - quite superb. If anyone needs a pointer about what the symptoms are and where to go next, L_J is your man.

    I haven't spoken to him about posting this recommendation, so he may kick me up the hoop for urging people to contact him, but he knows his stuff IMHO.

    The NHS knows nothing about PTSD; you have to diagnose yourself and tell the GP that you are ill in the head, before you can go any further.

    My GP actually asked me what "PTSD" was, the tweedy berk.
  7. Right - study is needed, we must (in my opinion) actively assist these studies.

    I have taken part on more than two funded studies and I really did not like all of the questions but I could see the point they were trying to make with the extracted information.

    The government does not do enough and needs assistance to realise what is happening. We could end up with a similar problem post Viet-Nam USA had in the late 70s and 80s!
  8. The trouble is though that the report itself, doesnt really say anything. It suggests that tempo "may" affect mental health, but does little more.

    PTSD as a subject is worthy of debate, and it is good to see the BMJ looking at it but in subsequent debate it more often ends up either misrepresented, misinterpreted or ends up desending into a slanging match.

    There is still no reliable work that explains why some people are affected and some are not, why two people can experience the same event and react differently.

    Rarely do we address an unpalatable truth that service with the Army increases dramatically your chances of being participant in unpleasant things often on repeated occasions under highly stressful conditions.
  9. The majority of GPs do know what PTSD is but perhaps under a different name (Victim stress, survivor guilt etc...).

    This matter needs more press coverage and also other veterans affairs especially of those being medically discharged - they LOSE their military treatment and if they do not have a dedicated doctor/CPN/Psychologist they lose out and fall by the wayside!
  10. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    For a Reservist view, check out the recent report (June 2007) in the British Journal of Psychiatry: "Explanations for the increase in mental health problems in UK reserve forces who have served in Iraq".

    It's subscription only, but a good read if you can get hold of a copy. Nothing startling or new there, just recognition that Reservists are affected more by Ops than equivelent Regulars, and that something should be done (as it has been, oddly enough, with the Reserves Mental Health Project in Chilwell).

    One outstanding quote from it, though (and apologies to the BJP, whose copyright this undoubtedly is):

    "Several studies have reported a possible association between reservist status and mental disorders (References). Our findings support this association, and this paper proposes explanations that might account for the higher risk of mental ill health in reservists when compared with their regular comrades following a major deployment."

    In other words, the TA attracts nutters. Who'd have thought it, eh? Not me, nor the little voices in my head that tell me what to do next...........
  11. I'm glad the BMJ have published this, it at least stimulates more discussion and thought.

    I'm still after the answer as to why at the time, the incident that is at the root of my PTSD had no effect but 4 years after leaving the Army it was triggered.
  12. Interesting read, will take a while to inwardly digest all of it.

    I'd like a better definition of what was interpreted as combat. As a former attendee at CS there were a good number who were not teeth arm but had ended up with PTSD for various experiences.

    Is a cook, for example, who never leaves camp but has to put up with frequent bombardment classed as in combat? What about those who have come after whatever contact to pick up the pieces? What about clerks who come out from camp to fill in the gaps for a patrol or two?

    Difficult to know where to draw the line in reality, methinks.
  13. The reality is nobody knows. It could be anything subliminal, auditory, aulfactory, visual etc. PTSD can also be brought about by a series of fairly minor stresses without relief or down time. This means that people who deploy or work in stressful areas may not need to have encountered one significant event, but lots of "less" significant ones.
    There is also a huge stigma attached to PTSD as its a mental health issue which makes people uncomfortable.
    I find it incredible btw that a GP didn't know what PTSD was? I would have his registration checked if I were you!
    The more research published on this subject the better, even if it adds only .00000001% more information than we had before we will all be better off.
  14. My pet theory for the problem these days is based on how few of us actually serve. How do you talk out the experiences when you're ready? I believe, in my humble opinion, it was far easier to be understood in days gone by when so many more had served and experienced teh same sort of situation.

    Down at the RBL over a few beers or 10?

    It seems to me the reservists are suffering more than the regulars at present but I may have misunderstood some of what I've been told or read.