Quarter of British soldiers in Iraq suffer mental illness

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by CharlieBubbles, Apr 14, 2009.

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  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-386403/Quarter-British-soldiers-Iraq-suffer-mental-illness.html

    British Army reservists fighting in Iraq are to get better mental health services following a shock new report.

    The study, by a team at King's College London, found 25 per cent of part-time soldiers deployed to Iraq suffered common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, compared with only 19 per cent of regulars.
    Now the Government has said that reservists found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or similar problems will be treated by Ministry of Defence medical services, like their full-time counterparts, instead of relying solely on the NHS.

    Researchers found no evidence of "Iraq war syndrome", with no sign of the big increase in illness which followed the 1991 Gulf War.
    More than 10,000 British military personnel who served in the 2003 Iraq war or were deployed on subsequent tours of duty were questioned in the study.

    The researchers looked for symptoms similar to those reported in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, including PTSD, common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, physical aches and pains, and fatigue.
    Their health outcomes were compared with those of personnel who had not been to Iraq.

    As well as mental health problems being more prevalent among reservists, 15 per cent reported physical symptoms compared with 12 per cent of regular soldiers.

    Rates for PTSD were 6 per cent for part time and 4 per cent for regular soldiers.

    Professor Mathew Hotopf, who led the research, said: "This is clearly important, because reservists are being used increasingly in Iraq."
    He thought many reserve soldiers might not be getting adequate support, either at home from families and employers or in Iraq from their regular army colleagues.

    There were also differences in the way health and welfare services were provided for reservists and regulars, with regular soldiers being looked after by the Ministry of Defence medical services while part timers had to rely on the NHS.

    What help do the TA get now, if they admit to themselves they perhaps have a Combat Related Mental Health problem, living outside the wire?
  2. Charlie,

    Currently it's the Reserve Mental Health setup based at Chilwell. If you think you are struggling you can aske to be referred there and they'll see you. However, there are problems with this, even though the nurses there are skilled and the schemes's intentions are good.

    The main one i( that I can see) s the requirement to go to Chilwell for assessment. If you're already struggling you're unlikely to go all the way from (for example) west Cumbria or Cornwall for assessment, Nottingham is a very long way off. The numbers seen by the scheme are relatively low (certainly nowhere near the 25% figure quoted above) and it would be a reasonable guess that distance is one of the big factors in this.

    IMHO, more use should be made of the psychiatric teams within the TA Field Hospitals, we have an understanding of the difficulties of re-assimilating into 'normal' life as quite a number of us have deployed. However that's just my opinion and I have raised this on a number of occasions with people further up the food chain.

    Which leaves the NHS, but I would say that currently the referrals in my area to CMHTs for therapy for PTSD (or indeed any other mental health problem related to service) for reserve soldiers (we have medical and infantry TA units on the PCT area, both have deployed over the last few years) are very, very low in number.

    That's not to say there won't be more in the future but that is the current situation.
  3. I suggested to my local MP last Saturday that those TA medics who work in the NHS, to be brought together with their training and experinace of their chosen speciality, such as Mental Health, to be set up more locally across the UK, to make easy of access for all those who need to be initially assessed.

    After all, with all those NHS practicioners who have served on Herrick and Telic, have far more experiance and understanding of the situations of the front line and the types of trauma they many face when they the casualty is returned to the UK.

    Does it matter who pays their wages, be it the Mod or the NHS, what is needed and needed now is more LOCALISED provision that servicemen and women can TRUST and open up to. Even when this government put all tge barriers in place in helping the individual and his / her family come to terms with their new found illness, that IF caught early enough, may nolt be as life changing as the many who have gone untreated for too many years through the government denial and lack if NHS services that could have been there already
  4. Charlie,

    Agree with you entirely, and this is what I've suggested, certainly for mental health. It makes no sense to not use the expertise and training that lies within the TA and other reserves in this way.

    I think the only issue is organising the correct pathway ie who they see after us , how this works, timescales etc.

    Even Catterick (nearest DCMH) is at least 3hrs from some of the people in my unit.
  5. How many TA units are there across the UK, all in easy reach of local NHS providers, after all many will trust and open up if they feel safe in the military enviroment such as a TA centre, it's not rocket science?

    As there must be many in the TA who as the story highlights who do or will need help in the coming months and years, if they feel safe in their unit lines, then why not being Mohammed to the Mountain?

    As long as those consultants / specalists / clinicians / nurses have themselves had the up-to-date military front line experiances whilst on Herrick and Telic, they may even meet those they initially treated in theatre?
  6. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    If anxiety and depression are the markers I wonder how many people serving were "suffering from mental illness" before going out to play in the sandbox.
  7. Medical units have squadrons covering the vast majority of the country incl Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland so nowhere should be too far from one.

    Schaden, you raise a very good point which needs researching further, though it's worth saying that there was a control group of Ta personel who hadn't deployed.
  8. There have been calls from senior officers for Psychometric Testing to be carried out prior and post deployment and then at regular intervals for all those who are going to, have deployed and those returning from the Sand Wars.

    However, the Mod have for what ever their reason chosen to ingore these requests, perhaps it's cheaper to discharge those affected onto the NHS?
  9. Although now those who are diagnosed with Combat PTSD is some cases are given the chance to serve on, I was informed that out of all those who attened the Priory Clinic for in-service Mental Healthcare, only 20% were returned to their units, the other 80% were dumped into tne NHS system, that means in general for ex servicemen and women Nothing!

    Now they are saying that even more will run the risk of Mental Health trauma in Stan due to the nature of what they have to face on a daily basis, with over stretch and more IED's, when will the Mod get a grip and when will the NHS work with the Mod and SPVA to help those ex servicemen on their release into civilian life, when if they have a knjown condition and is treated NOW, will in most cases go onto life a full and constructive life, if it is left, well you work it out . . .
  10. But we are apparently "investing funds to help with the effects of the recession, into mental health services". Excuse me, but aren't there wars on? 8O WTF?

    Thanks to Charlie Bubbles for this:

    "A Department of Health spokesman said the mental health of veterans would be considered if it was raised as an issue."
    Where the fcuk do they live then? Lord help us.... :evil:

    This is negligence at best, abandonment, at worst.

    The effects of long term military service can launch casualties into
    a living hell, considering the "quality" of services provided in Britain.
    Until more efforts and funding are poured into mental health awareness and treatment, sufferers are on a hiding to nothing, in the very worst case scenarios found in ignorant and draconian Britain. Only recently, one resident of a Hostel was referred to one of those "Gateways" after hours. he ended up in Casualty, sidelined and almost released, even though he was clearly and dangerously ill. The fat useless lumps in their "office" at the Mental Health Gateway (scoff scoff) (yes, Social Services) could not have cared less, never mind dragging their lardy arses out to see him.

    "Mental health services failing young and old"
    31st March 2009

    "Two reports published by the Healthcare Commission Equality in later life and Adult specialist community mental health services show significant failings in the care and treatment offered to mental health service users over and under 65 years old."

    "Mental heath stigma"

    21st July 2008

    "According to a poll by the Rethink charity, 90% of people who suffer from mental health issues said they were "frequently stigmatised".

    The upshot is that "personality disorders" and mental health issues are considered more worrying than who's plotting to do us harm. In UK PLC, it's usual to rant and against racism and shout about equality, even allowing radicals to attend dodgy language schools and "colleges". Remember the events at Easter?

    Though there are high profile operations going on and the media is plastering Help for Heroes , returning troops and casualties all over the TV and Newspapers, that old chestnut "mental health" isn't mentioned. Attention is given to more obvious injuries (as it should be) but nobody likes to talk about psychological casualties.

    On Veterans Day last year, the damage to veterans' mental health was rarely to be seen, for instance. On Armed forces Day this year, who's betting it won't be mentioned much there, either?

    "Currently less than 0.1% of adult mental health investment is allocated to mental health promotion. The UK needs to follow the example of (other) countries."

    The NHS is apparently cutting investment and reducing provision. In short, IMHO, a total bag of crap for anyone in need of emotional or mental health support.
  11. This is not accurate in a number of ways. Very few serving personnel with a PTSD diagnosis are admitted for inpatient care. Those admitted to the Priory often have severe alcohol problems or other psychiatric conditions, rather than PTSD, where there is some level of risk that cannot be managed on a outpatient basis. Because the problems are severe (that's why they require admission) it is true that they are more likely to be medically discharged. Overall, inpatient admissions are no reflection of treatment outcomes in service related PTSD.

    Also, the Priory no longer have the inpatient contract.

    The vast majority of MH care for service personnel is carried out in the DCMHs on an outpatient basis.
  12. Incorrect, investment has gone up significantly in recent years in mental health and continues to do so, 29% more RMNs and 64% more psychiatrists in the last 12 years or so. However that's starting from a point of woefully underfunded and it's now just quite under-resourced. We're heading in the right direction but not there yet or anything like.

    Suicides are also at their lowest level proportionally since records began, though how much that has to do with a period of relative prosperity isn't clear. It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next 18mths or so.

    The provision that IS reducing is inpatient provision which is as it should be as inpatient care really isn't all that good for you except for some very specialist areas like Secure and the immediate acute phase of an illness. The rest should be done in the community whether by NHS or the non-statutory and independent sector who do some work, like rehab, far better than we can, as that's where it's the most effective.

    There is more and better access to psychological therapies now, it's still rubbish but much better than it was a few years ago, again we're moving in the right direction, part of the problem is training the number of therapists needed. We're trying to recruit an additional 24 at the moment from an already limited pool.

    Like everything else in the NHS the continued political fiddling and reorganisations mean that it is difficult to get services running properly, as soon as a service gets bedded in and effective another dictat comes down from on high and the whole organisation has to reconfigure. Most of the setups would work if only enough time was given for them to do so.
  13. Not accurate? I take it you personally don't suffer from Combat PTSD Anxiety and Panic Attacks? All you maybe is a clinician who has read ALL about it and repeats paraphrase what the NHS / Mod says oin the matter!

    As one who left iwht NO Combat / Service Related Mental Health problems at all, BUT was carrying a long term chronic back problem, who then had to take legal action against the Mod for 5 years before on the court steps to be reccognised with both the nature of the injitial injury was service related and the then Mental Health illness, let me tell you ALL, there is NO care out here in the NHS YET! All we have is Combat Stress, while we have other ex service charities, ALL they can do is refer you to Combat Stress and in my case, theu then run away to the hills, never following up on how you are, how this problem is affecting you and or your family / friends, those who are left, as many due to the nature of Mental Health back off, so really much the same as ex service charities, so your damned if you do and damned if you don't, all because you served "Queen and Country"
  14. The same Priory Group that gave New Labour a one and a half million to their funds, the same priory group that only returned 20% of those referred to their units, the other 80% discharged and dumped into the NHS?

    So please tell me with the spead of these military treat centres, why Veterans can't be seen and treated there too? Or like the NHS's comments, they don't believe the problem is significant enough?
  15. these days it appears to me, that PTSD is too quickly shouted out for anything that is "out of character"

    Sometimes it can just be anger/frustration or any number of other things that may, or may not have percieved to have happened.

    Yes we need to ensure mental health is looked after for our troops returning from tours,

    but not all have PTSD who claim to have IMHO