Lancet report on Iraq troops mental health

#2
Top story at the moment on BBC News.

A quarter of part-time soldiers who served in the 2003 Iraq conflict experienced a mental health disorder, a study has found.

In comparison, 19% of regular soldiers were ill, the Lancet reported.

The King's College London team says Territorial Army members have less support, and the Ministry of Defence has said it will improve services.

The Ministry of Defence, which funded both studies, said that in future, part-time soldiers diagnosed with PTSD or related problems will be offered outpatient treatment by the Defence Medical Services.
Too little, too late, and only done grudgingly to prevent embarrassment of Neu Arbeit.

Defence minister Tom Watson said: "My department is carefully considering the recommendation that additional follow-up research is required."
New Labour-speak for 'We aren't doing anything, and hope this issue will go away so we won't have to spend any money'
 
#3
The thing that surprises me, although I don't really know why, is how relatively similar the numbers of TA and Regs affected by these issues are.

It seems that not only is care for Reservists completely shambolic, but care for the Regulars is as well.

D-. Very disappointing. Must try harder.
 
#4
Chalky said:
It seems that not only is care for Reservists completely shambolic, but care for the Regulars is as well.
Indeed. In this context it's not just medical care, but overall support to the injured that has suffered. There are moves afoot to ensure that better support is provided, though I gather that little if any extra funding or resources are being provided. Still, it'll enable MoD and the CoC to say they've learned the lesson and done something about it, whilst the reality is that it will be added to existing workloads.
 
#5
ViroBono said:
Still, it'll enable MoD and the CoC to say they've learned the lesson and done something about it, whilst the reality is that it will be added to existing workloads.
What does amaze me is that after all of the recent operations we've been involved in, from Corporate through to Telic, we're still having to learn lessons the hard way about how this country should be taking care of returning personnel, psychologically or otherwise.

Given the impact this can have on people's lives, not to mention manning and retention, it really does shock and anger me.

When my brother came back from Bosnia all he was given was two sleeping pills and a pamphlet.

Very effective care, indeed.

It's not just care to anyone who took the shilling. Families need to have as much briefing on it as those directly affected as they are the ones who may first notice psychological symptoms and will often be the bedrock of support to help those injured or otherwise affected.
 
#6
what care package did the regulars get? i got told if you are having nightmares then you will have to stay on camp and take your potl at a later date.... after six months "over there" no thanks. iv got some well earned drinking to do.

as far as i knew we had 2 weeks in barracks to make sure the army wasnt releasing people affected back to thier families. no one talked to us, we just did jiff jobs around camp nothing too strenuous.

i suspect not many people wanted to come forward and admit they had a problem. alot of people saw alot of nasty stuff in iraq. your average tom was just 18-19 and that could have some serious effects. i spoke to a few of my mates who just shruged it off, but later said it only really hit them when they were at home. sleep talking about a contacts they were in, really shouting the house down barking orders contact reports and sometimes numbers and colours off spot maps.
 
#8
Quite a lengthy piece on bbc world news. It highlighted the case of a TA medic struggling to get treatment, who gave his opinion/circumstances relating to the system
 
#9
Oh good. More work for the DCMHs without any extra resources I suspect.

Interesting to note that they limit liability to PTSD and "related" conditions. Given that (contrary to popular belief) PTSD is quite a rare diagnosis, I think a lot of people are going to be turned away (e.g. alcohol, depression, anxiety, etc). My instinct says that this is so much window dressing, but will reserve judgement until something more definitive comes through.

BTW, it would be a big help if you, and those you are responsible for, TURNED UP FOR BLOODY APPOINTMENTS! :D
 
#10
Neuroleptic said:
Oh good. More work for the DCMHs without any extra resources I suspect.
I'm sure you're right.

My instinct says that this is so much window dressing, but will reserve judgement until something more definitive comes through.
I'm sure you're right here, too.

BTW, it would be a big help if you, and those you are responsible for, TURNED UP FOR BLOODY APPOINTMENTS! :D
I dare say we could start a whole new thread of DNA excuses. Years ago, medical appointments were seen as a parade and those who failed to turn up without reasonable excuse were disciplined. It seems to me that nowadays many units view attendance at medical appointments as an optional activity.
 
#11
Quote from BBC webpage...

"...They suggest the difference may be explained by changes in how immunisations were administered - and an awareness that more interest was being taken in the health of serving personnel."

I perish to think what it was like previously.


To pick up from Chalkie's earlier post:

Chalky said:
It's not just care to anyone who took the shilling. Families need to have as much briefing on it as those directly affected as they are the ones who may first notice psychological symptoms and will often be the bedrock of support to help those injured or otherwise affected.
From my own experience, your absolutely right Chalkie. More information and points of contact between units and their soldiers' families would indeed assist in diagnosing problems earlier on.

I welcome the publication of the King's study, which has highlighted a number of concerns that a number of us tried to address with the CoC during 2003 and 2004. The questionnaire was well designed, and did seem to ask the right questions. My observation when completing it though, was that there was nothing being asked or polled within the survey that couldn't have been asked by the CoC. - and I wonder perhaps if there's been a collective turning of a blind eye to the problem by those who's role, should have been acting on it.

Again, we will now watch various public figures comment on the findings - no doubt between the MOD / CoC and our elected representatives, numerous soundbites will be made; about this being a far from staisfactory solution, more research must be carried out, too early to speculate on causes, etc. This issue is simply one of inadequate funding by HMG and a lack of ownership from those within the reservists' CoC who have chosen not to pursue the issue on their' soldiers behalf.

Whatever happens now, will in all reality be too little, too late.

It would be interesting to know some really pertinant data about those involved in TELIC (early days). Given the number of reservists suffering according to the Kings' study, possibly the MOD might like to publish statistics for the number of suicides / attempted suicides by personal involved. I raise this question, as the numbers do stack in this direction, i.e. if you have a large number of people within a community suffering depression / PTSD / similar, the liklihood is that a percentage of these people will have at some point contemplated suicide, or attempted suicide, and a minority thereof carried out the intent. At present, with TA personnel spread over the whole country, and NHS reporting mechanisms being what they are, there is no way of knowing how bad the problem is.
 
#12
Perhaps they've got things on their mind neurow-nkpit

Viro, you remind me of a time I was charged for missing a dentists appointment...last day of school, dento serving up the spuds for chrimbob dinner in the galley!!

He's here, I'm here, surely I'm not missing an appointment.....................................................Unfortunately duty dental faggot is having a sulk about missing his turkey dinner and sticks the knife in!

Nine days ROPs covering a pre arranged birthday bash on my return from leave. Never trust a fecking hungry matelot

While I'm ditting, the last "head nurse" I recall seeing was brought in to debrief the mass grave exhumers in Pristina, the chaps cracked on with boot smelling competions etc
"Head nurse" went a bit funny, relieved of all duties and flown out of theatre

ihave far too many nurse dits :x
 
#13
thegimp said:
Perhaps they've got things on their mind neurow-nkpit

Viro, you remind me of a time I was charged for missing a dentists appointment...last day of school, dento serving up the spuds for chrimbob dinner in the galley!!

He's here, I'm here, surely I'm not missing an appointment.....................................................Unfortunately duty dental faggot is having a sulk about missing his turkey dinner and sticks the knife in!

Nine days ROPs covering a pre arranged birthday bash on my return from leave. Never trust a fecking hungry matelot

While I'm ditting, the last "head nurse" I recall seeing was brought in to debrief the mass grave exhumers in Pristina, the chaps cracked on with boot smelling competions etc
"Head nurse" went a bit funny, relieved of all duties and flown out of theatre

ihave far too many nurse dits :x
Ah, abuse for no apparent reason. Surely the sign of a mature individual.

Let me try and expand on why I think you're mistaken.

Medical Appointments. Perhaps they have got other things on their minds, but consider this-

1) Medical appointments, be they Psychiatry or Orthopaedics, NHS or Service, cost money. Taxpayers money. Yours in fact (assuming you pay tax). If people don't turn up, that money is wasted.

2) Those people who don't turn up will almost certainly have to be re-appointed for another date. This increases waiting lists, thus giving people like yourself a good reason to slag off the NHS/DMS over having to wait for appointments..

3) It's a little known fact that health care staff actually have to physically examine/ talk to patients before they can be diagnosed and treated. Units that have the worst DNA (Did not attend) rates also tend to be the ones that complain about how many of their people are spending so long downgraded...

Mental Health problems in service personnel. Either this is a serious problem that the MOD/Gov't need to grip and spend resources on, or it's a joke. From your comments I assume you believe the latter. That's fine, each to his own, but its no good blaming the powers that be if people like yourself create an atmosphere where individuals refuse to access appropriate help at the right time because they're scared of being mocked.

Picture the scene-

The High Court- Bloggs vs MOD PTSD case

MOD Barrister: "So Mr Bloggs, you allege that the MOD failed to diagnose and treat your PTSD properly, and that you should therefore receive compensation."

Bloggs (ex- L/Cpl The Loamshire Regt): "Yes."

MOD Barrister: "And this relates to your body handling duties during Operation Agricola?"

Bloggs:"That's correct."

MOD Barrister: "Then why do official records say that, during this period, you attended a briefing on how to recognise PTSD in yourself and others, the need to report it and the appropriate channels to follow to receive assistance? Did you attend such a briefing?"

Bloggs: "Er- yes."

MOD Barrister: "And why did you not act on it when you first started to experience difficulties?"

Bloggs: "Erm..."

MOD Barrister: "Did you in fact listen to the briefing?"

Bloggs: "Erm..."

MOD Barrister: "What did you in fact do during the briefing?"

Bloggs: "Erm...sniffed my mate's boots..."

MOD Barrister: "Mu'lud, Mr Bloggs clearly needs help with some of his habits, but these are beyond the scope of the case he has brought against the MOD. He treated the help and information he was clearly offered as some sort of joke. I suggest that there is no case to answer here."

Judge: "Case dismissed!"
 
#14
Thanks for extensive and pertinent reply

I'm sorry I didn't realise that the complete lack of resources/finance/man power supplied to the forces psychiatric services was down to Tommy DNAing

Quote

"but its no good blaming the powers that be if people like yourself create an atmosphere where individuals refuse to access appropriate help at the right time because they're scared of being mocked."

At what point have I created an atmosphere where individuals are mocked.

My apparent levity is a response to your sense of your own importance on this subject and the fact that soldiers turning up for appointments and not wasting your valuable time appears to be the most important issue on your mind

But I'm glad the forces have such a wise old owl to guide them down the path of righteousness

As an aside, do you have the stats for mental health practioners who themselves have borderline personality disorders

PS I found your little "court" role play was quite insulting, it left me with an uneasy feeling about how you perceive your patients and how you see your relationship to them
 
#15
The problem with PTSD is that it is'nt necessaraly an immidiate problem. PTSD is a sneaky fcuker and can be triggered years later by a traumatic event or personal crisis that seems unrelate but is infact just a catalyst. This is'nt a case of the MOD dropping the ball as they have never picked it up in the first place.
 
#16
BigT said:
The problem with PTSD is that it is'nt necessaraly an immidiate problem. PTSD is a sneaky fcuker and can be triggered years later by a traumatic event or personal crisis that seems unrelate but is infact just a catalyst. This is'nt a case of the MOD dropping the ball as they have never picked it up in the first place.
It is true that PTSD can become a problem years after the event that started it. It's unlikely however that it suddenly appears. What usually seems to happen is that people develop PTS symptoms quite soon after the event, but are able to manage them themselves. They may fail to seek help for a variety of reasons (embarassment, 'stiff upper lip' attitude, self medication i.e. booze, perceived lack of support). Things then go wrong when their coping ability is undermined by some stressful event e.g. divorce, alcohol problems, unemployment, bereavement, etc (as you quite rightly point out).

This is why pre and post deployment briefings are so important. They wont 'cure' or prevent PTSD, but they will help people recognise when things are going wrong and (hopefully) encourage them to seek help at an early stage.
 
#17
Neuroleptic said:
This is why pre and post deployment briefings are so important. They wont 'cure' or prevent PTSD, but they will help people recognise when things are going wrong and (hopefully) encourage them to seek help at an early stage.
The briefings are important not just for individuals who may be affected, but also to enable people to recognise the onset of problems in others and support them and encourage them to get help. I think there's still some way to go to convincing people (as all levels) that reactions to critical incidents are normal and that traumatic stress is an injury that needs to be treated like any other.
 
#18
thegimp said:
Thanks for extensive and pertinent reply

I'm sorry I didn't realise that the complete lack of resources/finance/man power supplied to the forces psychiatric services was down to Tommy DNAing

Quote

"but its no good blaming the powers that be if people like yourself create an atmosphere where individuals refuse to access appropriate help at the right time because they're scared of being mocked."

At what point have I created an atmosphere where individuals are mocked.

My apparent levity is a response to your sense of your own importance on this subject and the fact that soldiers turning up for appointments and not wasting your valuable time appears to be the most important issue on your mind

But I'm glad the forces have such a wise old owl to guide them down the path of righteousness

As an aside, do you have the stats for mental health practioners who themselves have borderline personality disorders

PS I found your little "court" role play was quite insulting, it left me with an uneasy feeling about how you perceive your patients and how you see your relationship to them
I have to admit that I do get upset if my time is wasted by DNAs. I suspect that most people who put time and effort into providing a good level of service, training, work, etc would feel the same (including yourself). If that makes me pompous and self-important, so be it.

But, and it’s a big but, the bruises inflicted on my delicate ego are pretty irrelevant. At the risk of repetition, missed appointments are a big problem. They waste time and resources, patients don’t get managed (and may suffer harm) and fighting power is eroded. They are not the only reason that there are problems with Mental Health issues in the Armed Forces, but they don’t help. In addition, it is a problem with a simple solution. It only requires units to grip their admin a little.

How did I get the idea that you don’t take this seriously?

While I'm ditting, the last "head nurse" I recall seeing was brought in to debrief the mass grave exhumers in Pristina, the chaps cracked on with boot smelling competions etc
"Head nurse" went a bit funny, relieved of all duties and flown out of theatre
I can’t think!

I’m surprised to see you state that I don’t seem to care about patients. Why on Earth would I spend time posting on these forums, trying to inform people about military mental health issues? I suspect that you would ascribe this to some sort of perverse ‘Head Nurse’ personality disorder. If I wanted an easy life, I’d keep quiet about DNAs!


Bloggs of course is not a real person, although he is based on a number of real people who unsuccessfully attempted to sue the MOD on the grounds of their PTSD being mismanaged. Bloggs, or those people on whom he is based, were not my or anyone elses patients. That’s rather the point. In Bloggs’ hypothetical case, he failed to exercise his reasonable duty and listen to the advice and information offered to him at the appropriate time. (Like ignoring health and safety regulations.) As a result, he did not recognise that problems were developing or know what to do about it i.e. seek help. As a result, he developed problems that might have been much less severe if treated earlier. He couldn’t prove the MOD, as opposed to himself, was liable.

Please don’t start saying that this means I don’t care about guys like Bloggs. I do. In order to help them we do need more resources (especially for reservists). But we as an organisation also need to make sure that simple things like turning up for appointments happen, and to work to overcome the prejudices against discussing mental health problems and help seeking amongst military personnel.

Borderline personality disorder? Is this a hint at a personal agenda?
 
#19
ViroBono said:
Neuroleptic said:
This is why pre and post deployment briefings are so important. They wont 'cure' or prevent PTSD, but they will help people recognise when things are going wrong and (hopefully) encourage them to seek help at an early stage.
The briefings are important not just for individuals who may be affected, but also to enable people to recognise the onset of problems in others and support them and encourage them to get help. I think there's still some way to go to convincing people (as all levels) that reactions to critical incidents are normal and that traumatic stress is an injury that needs to be treated like any other.
Quite agree Viro, which is why some of the comments in this particular thread make me despair of ever getting that message across.
 

Latest Threads