• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Forces attitudes to mental illness

Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#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.
 
#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
InVinoVeritas said:
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.
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?:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=146838/postdays=0/postorder=asc/start=0.html

Psychobabble also posted some interesting observations here:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/p=3270393/.html#3270393

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:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=149025/.html

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.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
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.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#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.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#12
bovvy said:
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 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
crow_bag said:
Do people think lessons or lectures on things like PTSD which consist of more than just a list of symptoms would be beneficial?
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.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#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
crow_bag said:
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.
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:
 
A

ALVIN

Guest
#16
How do you de-stigmatize mental illness in the military and in society at large for that matter ??
Regarding attitude ....... It is a very unfortunate part of our U.K culture i am ashamed to say.
The sad fact is that if certain people get a whiff of mental illness they wont touch you with a barge poll, it is like you are some sort of psycho that cant be trusted that frightens people away, this leaves the victim feeling like a disadvantaged second class citizen in his/her own society.
 
#17
The positive side (If you can have one) is that PTSD has very obvious roots/trigger which (In theory) come from "common experience"

Soldiers are in a slightly stronger position as they are surrounded by oppos/CoC that know exactly what they have been through.

This I think is balanced out/overtaken by the disciplined system soldiers live in which doesn't tolerate some of the symptoms of mental illness, drinking, violence, slack drill and dare I say it refuge in drugs.

There is also a bit of "Thank feck its not me" and a lot of denial that "That could be me" which means ranks/social groups tend to close out soldiers they see as "admin feck ups"

Sad situation, "admin feck ups" end up outside with absolutlely no support from the NHS, helpless families and no common ground with anyone---------> Cue self destruct, substance misuse, jail and a life in shop doorways
 
#18
With our recent and current military involvements, in maybe 10-20 years time, we will start to find out how big this ticking time-bomb is?
 
#20
After Herrick became ill - I'm a reservist, lost plot a bit and been diagnosed with PTSD - served in Musa Qualah. Regular unit attached to and Reserve unit have been good. Boss has been excelent - got sent to Chilwell, seen in 2 weeks and referred onto my local DCMH.

Stigma - not in my experience. My attached unit has had many lads and lasses go down with PTSD since Telic, some with dreadful results. Its learnt and no one has made any comment. I think very much the attitude is that it can happen to anyone. Only problem has been my civvie employer- total ******, made comments, and still does regarding me being a 'nut'. I'm not- did my job and just need bit of help to adjust. Cant speak of the regular experince, but any reservist, dont hand back from Chilwell - biggest hurdle is getting over your own feelings of fcekin up
 

Latest Threads