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. Indeed I also think we can't just focus on PTSD etc when concerned with the mental health of those who's served, you don't have to be official 'ill' to have mental health issues.It could simply be struggling to readapt to the civilian world etc... I read somewhere that after world war 2 there was spike in divorces amongst then men who returned from war....
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  2. Fugly

    Fugly LE DirtyBAT

    I joined at 18, left at 42. I have been diagnosed with PTSD.It's an awful place. To be honest, the NHS have been a thousands times better than the military system, despite their complaints. But I have massive respect for the RAMC and their counterparts, I;ve seen them in action in theatre and they ae amazing
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  3. I recall seeing that that was due to husbands being demobbed and getting home to find their wives in the arms of their boyfriends.
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  4. I think it's just the most common form of temporary escapism. There are plenty of others that are healthy/beneficial but let's face it, alcohol is hard wired into our society as a method to blot out pain/reality. It's on basically every drama/film we've seen childhood. Drugs are seen as the next level.

    Thinking about it, it's as bad as smoking cigarettes used to be pushed, a lot worse in terms of mental health
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  5. Interestingly, my ex wife was a heavy user of drugs - cannabis, skunk weed and other stuff. Over the years she received hundreds of thousands of quid in handouts and allowances even though she refused to go for treatment time and again.

    When I finally stopped trying to fight my own illnesses and asked my GP for help, I was told to go home and give myself a good kick up the backside.
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  6. jarrod248 said:
    Notice many threads about mental health problems, drugs and alcohol problems surface quite quickly?

    Drugs/Alcohol are known to be coping mechanisms. They are the healthier ones. Some cope by torturing small animals to get a feeling of power back in their life. There are other coping mechanisms as well. While alcohol/drugs are destructive to the individual and society at large by proxy, they are not so harmful as other methods (mentioned).

    If some loser can't deal with his pain because he is too mentally weak, then hey, let him blow his liver up. Whether via alcohol or benzodiazepines - who cares. He only becomes a cause worth fighting for when it seems likely he may end up damaging others.

    No one that has ever been in pain would see alcohol as a proper coping mechanism. You need the hard stuff: Heroin, Crack...

    People in pain need someone they can relate to. Non-judgemental. Sure, a few weak bastards will drop through the net (I may be one of them), but even the most hardened and self-sufficient person will still need a human hand to guide him - he will choose this before drugs as long as he respects the person. If he does not? Then **** off. Back to the bottle. Of booze or pills. Who cares.

    There may even be a correlation between those that are mentally weak and those that have a propensity to become addicted to drugs/alcohol. But is now the time to argue the toss? People are who they are. And they are your friends or they are not your friend.

    I hate alcohol. Absolutely despise it in fact. But I choose it over drugs, because I've seen the damage they do. At least just doing alcohol, I have some people willing to reach out and help me, where as if I did drugs, that help would not come, of that I am 100 percent certain. And I don't blame them.

    Coping mechanisms. Self-abuse. Better than having a coping mechanism that involves abusing others, be they small animals or other human beings.

    But it's a circle, isn't it? If you abuse drugs then it will mess your mind up. Alcohol also really messes your mind up. And your body. And your spirit. It does no good at all.

    I know people who don't touch a drop. Totally 100 percent straight 100 percent of the time. And they are the most fucked up and mean spirited people I know of. Even more mean spirited than your common or garden alcoholic, and let's face it, it doesn't get much more bitter or mean spirited than that. But somehow these tee totalers manage it.

    When I deal with people, I always look deeper and harder in to their soul, than just the surface addictions of alcohol or drugs. And yes some people are weak. But yes, some people are just overcome and overwhelmed by that which they are not able to cope with.

    No one likes a whiny little bastard that uses the few bad experiences he has had in life to justify his alcoholism/drug use. Millions of them about, in fact. I've certainly met a few. But a line needs to be drawn between those losers, and then those ones that just can't be reached by any means at all. Very often they do nothing at all. No coping mechanism. Just going further down. Dragging their family and few friends in to the mire with them. So they get cut loose. And that is when the real problems start, for them and society.

    The art of the game is knowing which people can be reached, are worthy of your time and help. Bad decisions will still be made.

    Drugs are doled out by the higher-ups like sweeties, oftentimes. But it's a complex game. Benzos will make anyone feel better for five minutes, but they are contra-indicated in cases of severe PTSD, and with good reason. Still they are doled out like sweeties.

    It's an easy out to look on people as druggies or alchies. Sometimes all people want is a hug, or someone that can listen to them without being patronising or judging them. Hard things to attain.

    And it's not just the drugs that are handed out like sweeties by health care professionals. So are diagnoses.

    I've been diagnosed with ptsd, but it's probably one of the few things I don't suffer from ;-). But it was easy for them to palm me off on to someone else. Ok, I do have it a bit, but it's a spectrum disorder, from 'almost absolutely fine' to 'just can not function at all'.

    And this is why the health care professionals have a real job on their hands, and they need a bit of support too. Well, the ones who aren't jobsworths.

    It's all a bit of a mess.

    I've never even come across any place on the net even discussing this in such candid terms. And we're only getting started!
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  7. A coping mechanism where someone takes something to not cope isn't a way of coping, it's a delaying tactic until someone does cope or never copes.
    It's current affairs and really we should try and stick to the topic or there's no point it being in this section.
    How to screen, can we screen, do we give up hope of doing so?

  8. I agree with you about the not coping stuff. Very astute observation.

    I apologise if I took things off thread a bit. My bad. Thanks for letting me have a say anyway.

    All the best.

    (ah ok, see what you mean about the not coping stuff - that's another way of looking at it I suppose)

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  9. The problem with Mental Health is the mind. (pun intended) No two minds are the same, some are more robust than others, and there is not and will not ever be a catch all treatment that can "Cure" everyone.

    Two people can be exposed too the exact same trauma / incident, those two people can have reactions at the opposite ends of the spectrum, How do you even start screening people? Some will lie through their teeth that they are OK because they don't want to be seen as a lesser person by their mates, others will be glad of the help and then you will inevitably get some making it up trying to scam the system.

    It's a complex problem, that will have to be solved by people with more braincells than the ARRSE collective.
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  10. I tried cannabis many years ago and didn't like it and anyway gave up smoking a long time ago.

    Never tried hard drugs (so called). I love a decent ale, a good red wine and a drop of Caol Ila single malt.

    Out here in the trollops, one of life's pleasures is to sit and watch the sun go down with a cold beer. Unfortunately the cold beers here are all in the same category - fizzy piss. So I make my own and my favourite is Bia Gung - ginger beer made with fresh ginger root, which grows like a weed here.

    When working on projects my hours are 04:30 - around 20:00 hrs 7 days a week for six months or so - or used to be anyway - with no time for drinking as you need sleep and anyway it is a routine procedure to test staff randomly for alcohol and drugs every morning with management staff setting an example.

    So maybe I have my priorities wrong and should have succumbed to alcoholism and lived on free handouts and state benefits.

    Maybe there is still time.....
  11. You have valid points but it's a serious part of the forum so let's be serious.
  12. Looking at all the evidence throughout the world is how we get NICE guidelines as to what is the best way to treat people.
    The best way to screen people, can it be done?
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  13. But about screening people?
  14. I honestly don't know. My own opinion is that you can get some kind of baseline, but there are just too many variables in the human mind to have a one solution fits all kind of screening test.
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  15. I was answering TS post, which went into some depth about drugs.

    But what about screening people?

    What are you wanting to screen them for?
    Is drug taking a symptom of mental ill health, or does mental ill health lead to drug taking?
    If the latter, does that mean that those people on Arrse and those in the real world, who advocate making marijuana legal are mentally ill? Or does it mean that if marijuana is made legal, we can look forward to a significant increase in mental ill heath due to "soft" drug consumption?

    How about having a vote on it after screening people for their capacity to vote sensibly on the matter?

    As I said before, my "leaving the army medical" was a cursory affair and the hearing test was simply a waste of time and when I complained that the door to the hearing test booth didn't close properly, so what I could mainly hear was the noise of trucks driving past, the fat medic Sgt said "just do your best".

    The medical itself was done by a young RAMC Captain who had probably done half a dozen such "R&F" medicals that day. A sausage machine approach (this was in 1989 or 1990 mind) to sod orf out of the army medicals. During the medical, no bloods were taken and I find this rather odd, since I had (like many people) been very close to many forms of chemicals such as white phosphorus, red phosphorus, benzene, mustard gas (etc), a plethora of smokes (and I don't mean Woodbine) of various kinds and a whole cornucopia of explosives types. During my service I had fairly extensive experience of using various X-ray and Gamma ray equipment (including isotopes of cobalt) and of course disintegrated Depleted Uranium - before the crap hit the fan about it.

    Notably there was no dental examination either.

    So what about screening people for mental illness? Does the Triage process as described by Virtual Bonedome above, the one that I completed in Pompey in 2013, have the ability to detect obfuscation by the persons completing the form? If this isn't possible I can quite see how screening would be ineffective. In other words it wouldn't work, because honest answers cant be guaranteed - unless the person completing the questionnaire actually wanted to have his illness treated.

    Which then brings us to the point about people falsely claiming to suffer from metal disabilities: Can the Triage questionnaire identify those people who are falsely claiming metal illness?

    What about those who think they are mentally ill but aren't?

    There is one other point that I should mention: In 1984 I was having minor problems with not being unable to sleep and worrying that I would never see my daughters 12th birthday. Two strange things that I tried to put away from my thoughts but they were insistent in my mind. Would I have told anyone? I doubt it very much since in those days, mental illness was a career killer and even as late as 2013 mental illness was a matter for ridicule and shame, as witness the Sun Newspaper headline in Sept 2003: BONKERS BRUNO LOCKED UP, after he was diagnosed with Bipolar illness. At the time there was an outcry about it but Frank was a well loved public figure. Most people arent and don't want to face that kind of approbation.

    And finally, Esther, In some cases PTSD and other mental illnesses don't show up until may years afterwards, so screening soldiers at the point of exit from the military may not be effective in some cases anyway.

    Answers on a post card please. Or below will do.