Forces attitudes to mental illness

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Zarathustra, May 7, 2010.

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  1. After the recent thread about a demonstration taking place London to raise the issue of mental health problems in ex-service men.

    What I've been thinking about is the attitudes towards mental health issues in the military. Not just from the medical side but the general attitudes in the blokes and in the CoC. What sort of attitudes have people seen towards people suffering with and trying to get help for mental health issues whilst serving?

    I can't help thinking that if we could get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues in the military it might help reduce the number of people being discharged with these problems as they might be more likely to come forward with these problems at the time the symptoms start to appear.

    Would raising the service communities awareness of mental health issues that can arise whilst serving wether it be PTSD or other problems? Would it be easy to try and remove the stigma attached to mental health issues?
  2. From experience, where there is stigma applied, it causes further damage and suffering, where there is support and understanding.. recovery is far more likely. Just my humble opinion having seen both things happen. I think it is f*cking criminal the way some unprofessional b*stards stigmatise mental health issues.
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  3. It should be de-stigmatized, but it would probably be easier to sell ice cubes to eskimos. What they really need are retreats where they can be referred for treatment amongst their fellow forces sufferers and under the care of staff who have a greater understanding of the specific causes of their trauma than is usual in civvy street. They already exist in the form of Combat Stress, but I'm thinking on a bigger scale. The government wouldn't fund it, but it might part fund it if the RBL could market itself like Help for Heroes and take the lead, or even do so in cahoots with H4H.
  4. The system should seek out members of the forces succesfully treated and use them as sponsors... just knowing that there is a way back could be such a motivating factor for many.
  5. That's a very good idea. There should also be a training scheme for ex-forces to provide assistance.
  6. You mean this thread, Crow_Bag?:

    Psychobabble also posted some interesting observations here:

    Mental illness has a stigma throughout society ...... even among some mental health care professionals. It might boil down to whether one is considered to be a brave person trying to cope with a severe mental illness, or a pathetic creature who can't cope with real life. I don't think that many would fail to be concerned and supportive of a mate suffering a severe psychotic illness. However with problems such as personality disorders, where the sufferer might be perceived as a manipulative, selfish, unreasonable, lazy good-for-nothing, there might be less understanding. The subject of this thread is not untypical of someone suffering from a personality disorder:

    but, contrary to the perceptions of those who have to encounter such individuals, it is evident, on closer examination and understanding, that people like this are genuinely suffering.
  7. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    I would like to think that we can also move forward to better understanding of what one might call late-onset PTSD, where ex-service people have problems that start long after they have left, and possibly do not have any 'military' contact.
  8. Bovvy, it would be good to think that people will look out for their mates when they're going through a rough patch, this isn't always so. Probably not because they don't care but because they either don't understand when people talk to them and, I'd imagine a mate coming to you talking about self harm or thoughts of suicide might be a bit off putting.

    If someone did come to them with these problems, they might not raise their concerns with the CoC because they think that it might be better to keep it in house.
  9. Not too long back I went into the doctors myself having an issue or two after being convinced by friends to finally go have a word. I was completely fucked off by the doctor who said in his own words, "I'm not going to help you". To hell with them. :D
  10. Yep, crow_bag. And you might be the ONLY person they might be willing to talk to, when they feel "fed-up, fcuked-up and far-from-home". 8O It can't be easy. And, of course, initially, the best approach is to say "man the fcuk up". But often the problem is recognising that someone does feel "that bad". The last thing you want to do is to be too sympathetic and start medicalisng a simple case of "p1ssed off". Do you not have padres for that sort of thing? Or are they not much help?

    I believe that gut-feeling is useful. If you have a "bad feeling" about someone, then go up the CoC.
  11. B_AND_T

    B_AND_T LE Book Reviewer

    From what I have seen with a number of CoC's is very much a NIMBY attitude.
  12. I personally avoided the padre like the plague. I only spoke to him at all because my CSM told me I had to as he'd already arranged an "interview". I prefer speaking to people who know or at least have an idea what I'm talking about I.E. the blokes I was on the ground with or guys who had been in similar situations. Even then only 1 person I spoke to about it took it seriously and didn't try to laugh it off and tell me to get a grip. But this isn't a thread about me.

    Do people think lessons or lectures on things like PTSD which consist of more than just a list of symptoms would be beneficial?
  13. I almost suggested something like that. Though the trouble with "a little knowledge" is that, within a week, you have diagnosed the whole bloody regiment as suffering from some form of madness (including the CO and RSM) and that the Regimental Mascot is the only sane one among you.
  14. I understand that concern, but surely helping people to understand how PTSD affects people then people might be more willing to come forward when they have problems.
  15. What does seem to be useful is to have loads of mental health leaflets (describing every possible problem) available in every reception area (or whatever you have). The unhappy person will feel some relief at finding a list of the exact same problems he is experiencing have a name and a treatment.

    I don't know what else to suggest, only being familiar with NHS (not Services) culture ......... from both sides of the counter (in my case). :oops: