Screening soldiers for mental health problems doesn't work

#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.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#3
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.
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.
 
#4
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.
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.
 

jarrod248

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Gallery Guru
#5
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.
That's why studies need to be large.
 
#7
Is there a correllation between personality types or other psychologically measurable markers which appear commonly with PTSD sufferers?
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/schola...ved=0ahUKEwjHk7vLtpfSAhXEJ8AKHUAmBuEQgQMIGDAA
 
#9
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.
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.
 
#11
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.
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.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#12
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.
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?
 
#13
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?
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?
 
#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
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?
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.
 

napier

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Moderator
Kit Reviewer
#16
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?
Prof Simon is definitely the acknowledged expert in this field. We have a new prof Klein Susan - Robert Gordon University who has just started with us who appears to share his views. Basically screening isn't proven to help and it can definitely harm, so best not to.
 
#19
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?
I think one of the issues with 'mental health issues' is the very problem that it is rare that two comparatively similar people, will react differently post an "event", that is not to say that screening wont perhaps help, individuals or bodies that have or may be exposed.

My interaction with mental health services, be it NHS or others is that an individuals mental health is not set, or definitive by one attribute, unlike most conventional medical conditions. That is perhaps why there is a struggle to provide "good" mental health services, I think we would all agree that diagnosing, then setting and treating a broken leg is simple, diagnosing and treating 'broken brained biffs, such as I andd others not so much.

I am sure 'jarrod' you have seen and treated two people with the same addiction issues in the past, who have very differing back stories, and while they may share similar physiological traits, that will bind to addiction issues, the trigger though in time and cause have little similarity.

Since it is a long time since I had too undergo any part of the enlistment medical procedures, and the only 'mental health screening' is in the first case much is on the individuals GP and face to face with recruiting staff who though are not formally trained in mental health screening. That some sort of pre enlistment screening should help in both retention and suitability for service.

As with everything the devil would be in the detail, a persons past is not always indicative of there future.
 
#20
Would this suggest that the current vogue for screening individuals applying for firearms ownership is equally flawed?

(This is not to say that individuals who have a diagnosis for an existing mental condition or who have a history of violent or intemperate behavior should be allowed access..!)
 

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