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Screening soldiers for mental health problems doesn't work

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jarrod248, Feb 17, 2017.

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  1. Screening soldiers doesn’t protect them from mental illness
    I just saw this posted on Twitter and thought it odd. I'd have thought screening would be useful.
    Prof. Wessely does have a very valid point about labelling people and we do of course see people wanting or claiming ptsd to excuse an act.
    Are people surprised by this, has anyone been screened, what do people think, what else could be done?
     
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  2. Well, Jarrod, you are the site expert on mental stuff you tell us.

    What I can tell you is that a few years ago blokes wouldn't report "funny turns" due to not wanting to be labelled a "loony" and marital violence was just shrugged off as "marital" stuff.

    When I had my pre bugger off from the army medical in 1990, the hearing test was a joke and the medical wasn't as thorough as the one if had prior to joining in 1968.

    There was no mention of mental health probs and anyway it's doubtful if anyone would admit to it in those days.

    What could have revealed some blokes probs would have been blood tests - liver function etc - and a well designed psych questionnaire.

    But again accuracy of results would to a large extent depend on the willingness of the subjects to be honest in their replies.
     
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  3. Well this study is a lot more recent so of course it'll be different to your experiences back then.
    It's the opposite of what instinct would tell me though.
     
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  4. When I was in UK in 2013 I was taken to a Veterans Agency drop in centre in Portsmouth. I was asked to fill in a lengthy Questionnaire. An hour later I was visited at the table I was sitting at with tears streaming from My eyes (I wasn't crying I just couldn't stop it) by an ex fleet air arm officer turned psychologist . He told me that the questionnaire I had completed indicated that I had severe problems and he wanted to talk to me. He confirmed the diagnoses made by two other doctors, but as I intended to get a F out of UK ASAP took no further action.

    But that's my personal experience and all I can say is that if people answer questions honestly it can be very revealing. But therein lies the problem.
     
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  5. That's why studies need to be large.
     
  6. Is there a correllation between personality types or other psychologically measurable markers which appear commonly with PTSD sufferers?
     
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  7. Not sure about a correlation between different personality types, but there are some predictors - ADHD for example, has been shown to be highly co-morbid with PTSD. I can only remember one study in great detail - done during the Bosnian War on children, and they found that ADHD was correlated with developing PTSD, and this relationship was not explained by ADHD children putting themselves in a greater number of risky situations. I think a few US studies have also found ADHD is commonly found with veterans suffering from PTSD too.

    EDIT: When I did my MSc dissertation on this subject, it was a relatively new field - seems like it's been studied in a lot more detail now:
    https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=PTSD+and+ADHD&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjHk7vLtpfSAhXEJ8AKHUAmBuEQgQMIGDAA
     
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  8. Indeed.
     
  9. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    You're talking about Veterans Outreach Support; it's not run by the Veterans Agency (although they are at the drop ins); I know it well. It's essentially a drop in which, on the days it takes place, concentrates lots of resources in one place. Dr Morgan O'Connell was one of the founders, and Surg Capt John Sharpley, who is the current Defence Advisor in Neuropsychiatry, is a Trustee.

    The screening you did is part of their triage process, which is designed to get people seen by an appropriate professional quickly - often the same day.

    It has a good reputation, is well supported and well integrated with local & national resources.

    There are other VOS groups elsewhere now.
     
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  10. Do we need to look back from the beginning, before someone joins, their early life, research more of that, family history?
     
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  11. I did my MSc in psychometric testing on people involved in high risk occupations. One of the results I identified from ATO's And AT's involved in IED disposal was that the fatality rate dropped significantly after the testing was introduced. But, it was difficult to correlate this with improved disposal techniques and improved G2. But my gut feeling was that it worked.
     
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  12. If the same tests were used on lower risk jobs would it mean that the people we want to attract and who are attracted aren't suitable?
     
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  13. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    That might be the case, especially with infantry; quite a few join to escape chaotic backgrounds - but then many do well and for them it's an opportunity. I wonder if testing might help screen out the 19-24 year old early service leavers who are at greater risk of suicide and other problems? Perhaps @napier can shed some light from Anglia Ruskin's work?
     
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  14. Iam certain if they screened for Borderline Personality Disorder in your average police station ,the results would be through the roof. .But again,perhaps borderline personalities or those with some traits associated with that disorder suit police work. ?
     
  15. I cant comment on what else can be done but I think then any surveys are swayed by answers - most surveyed wont tell the truth. I was told by aMO that when they asked the question about an individuals alcohol intake, no matter what they 'admitted too' they doubled it.
     
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