Sick at Home (Depressed)

#1
Would like some thoughts / views.

I am with a Regiment whose 'Sick at Home' statistics have risen dramatically over the last year. Lots of factors - Arms Plot Move, couple of TELICs, Other deployments.

All the 'poor depressed babies' (bless em) are 18-20 with little or no service and/or experience. Lots of 'I hate the Army' - 'But you've only been here 2 days' - 'I'll kill myself if you make me stay' - 'OK, go to the doc'

Now, it's always p'd me off that these boys stay on full pay, but am even more disgusted to discover that if they have gone 'sick at home' from Germany they are still entitled to LOA, and can claim back food and accn on rtn!!

I'm not knocking the genuine cases - we do have a couple (2 out of 32) who are genuinely ill and need to be at home, but what about the teenagers that know if they tell a civvy doc that they are going to 'self harm' (they even know the lingo) they get 'unfit to travel' for at least a month - it takes at least another month to get in front of a Service CPN - then 2 or 3 more to get told to RTU or get an admin discharge. 6 months on full pay for sitting on their arses in front on their playstations - or worse, working cash in hand for dad/uncle eddy/the bloke down the road.

What about the 18 year olds who are suddenly depressed for the next 6 month, but will miraculously improve once Iraq is over?

Any views or units with the same (or worse) problem? (am leading onto another question but really need to stop waffling on for now!)
 
#3
Do you not just get kicked out for that? well okay if he says he's gonna self-harm, let him do it - at least then you can give him a proper leave after he's got a real injury.
 
#4
Shagane said:
Do you not just get kicked out for that? well okay if he says he's gonna self-harm, let him do it - at least then you can give him a proper leave after he's got a real injury.
errrr no.

these guys are not cost effective if you just 'let him do it' and do you REALLY think a manic depressive in a place he doesn't want to be with firearms is a clever idea?

Hmmmmmmm

Beebs
 
#5
No, probably not.

But don't they screen for people like that? i know, that must sound really naive, but don't you have interviews and stuff? I mean that's what being in the Army kind of implies (correct me if I'm mistaken): you are expected to risk your life to a certain extent.
 
#6
Ahh, The little Darlings.This suddenly became prevelent about 5 years ago when, all of a sudden, the sick on leave stats went mental. The "I'm depressed" angle gets used straight away.

When I was a Sqn 2IC I had a classic case. A young lad had hurt his back during a course (which was genuine) but he spent 6 months on the sick list and was eventually sent back to us. This young kid went sick straight away and despite being put on light duties complained that he should be on sick leave at home. The light duties was not a problem as I needed an Ord Cpl's runner. This little SH1T went back to the doctor two days later complaining that carrying bits of paper was hurting too much. This did not impress the doctor (despite being a Civvy) who sent him back to me. Unfortunately the guy went sick the next week and was sent home by a locum doctor for 7 days, much to my disgust. When he returned he went sick again and the locum decided that he was a suicide risk as he now claimed to be depressed. The little t*sser had been sent to his room to lie down prior to his transport being provided. This was my opportunity. I despatched the SSM and Sqn duty officer to the guys room as if he was a suicide risk then we needed to take the very strong pain killers off him. On entering the room the SSM found the guy lounging on the bed. The SSM checked the guys locker and found about 3 months of pain killers, the individual had never taken any pain relief since he had been sent back. He obviously found being at home on full pay far more agreeable than working for a living. Needless to say he was gotten rid of pretty quickly.

We must find a better way of dealing with these scrotes. Unable to travel certificates from a doctor should only be extant for 3 days max and then the military doctor must visit. We have let this get far too out of hand.

Sorry for the long post but this subject really winds me up. :evil: :evil: :evil:
 
#7
Shagane said:
No, probably not.

But don't they screen for people like that? i know, that must sound really naive, but don't you have interviews and stuff? I mean that's what being in the Army kind of implies (correct me if I'm mistaken): you are expected to risk your life to a certain extent.
All the screening in the world won't get 100% of those who will end up at risk of self-harm or harming others.
The forces do have screening programs, but sadly I’d say they are more prone to treatment rather than detection, as are most forms of mental health care now days.
What does being in the army imply? That to risk your life you have to be slightly unbalanced?
I’d think the opposite. To willingly risk your life or to take the life of another shows an incredible balance and reasoning of right and wrong.

Beebs
 
#9
There are a few but they tend to be Inf and Cav units. RE & RA sometimes get them but rarely. If you are lucky enough to have a good civvy doctor who tries to understand the Army way of life things are not too bad. The lot we have in my current unit are from the local practice in the village and despite being very pleasant they don't have a clue what we do or why.
 
#10
If a doctor has made a diagnosis and issued a sick note it is hard to challenge it, particularly for those with no medical qualifications, no matter how annoyed they are or how much they think they know better. Challenging doctors on clinical decisions will not usually prove useful.

The MAO(CH) at each Div HQ is responsible for the control of absence in these circumstances, and should be able to visit the individuals to ascertain their actual condition, and arrange for them to RTU or be seen by an MO/CPN in UK as required. That said, MAO(CH)s are usually snowed under, so it may not be as easy as the book says.

It may be helpful for the RMO to speak to the certifying doctor to find out what the score is, and give the military perspective, advising what facilities the military can offer - the GP has only heard one side of the story. Once educated, many doctors are less likely to hand out sick notes to soldiers.

When an individual expresses suicidal ideation, GPs & A&E depts cannot and will not take the risk of sending him back to a situation he says is the cause of the problem, particularly with issues like Deepcut still being very much in the public eye. Tact needs to be used in dealing with doctors and hospitals - the RSM threatening to 'drag 'im back' won't scare them (they have to deal with midwives!), and waffling about military law won't impress them either - they have a duty of care to the patient.

Rising sick at home stats are usually a symptom of problems at unit level; once these are addressed, the stats should return to normal. Unfortunately many units seem unwilling to admit that they have problems, which doesn't help. The pay, LOA etc will probably have to written off to experience - thems the rules - but on their return soldiers should be dealt with administratively and in line with the duty of care. Taking a hard line is likely to cause further resentment and 'illness'.

Perhaps the chain of command also need to be aware, so they can let TCH know what the effects of overstretch are....
 
#11
blessed baby cakes said:
Shagane said:
No, probably not.

But don't they screen for people like that? i know, that must sound really naive, but don't you have interviews and stuff? I mean that's what being in the Army kind of implies (correct me if I'm mistaken): you are expected to risk your life to a certain extent.
All the screening in the world won't get 100% of those who will end up at risk of self-harm or harming others.
The forces do have screening programs, but sadly I’d say they are more prone to treatment rather than detection, as are most forms of mental health care now days.
What does being in the army imply? That to risk your life you have to be slightly unbalanced?
I’d think the opposite. To willingly risk your life or to take the life of another shows an incredible balance and reasoning of right and wrong.

Beebs
He joined up didn't he? that is Self-Harm in itself. :roll:
 
#12
Surely if some one constantly threatens to self harm he is a risk to himself and should come under immediate mental care or even be sctioned for his own safety?
I believe that the advent of single rooms has taken the family ethos and looking after your mates away from the army.
 
#13
i totally agree with Boelynbulldog about the singlie accom :wink: (i think a thread on that lies elsewhere)
As for the sick at home poop...bin 'em!-admin discharge ASAFP...seen it done in a week for a low life CDT failure...so why not for a waste of space as well?
Here's one that will make you laugh(same sort of sprog poop).......A guy who's AWOL gets his mum to phone up his squadron to find out why they "stopped" paying him...and winged along the lines that she'd get in touch with the local MP :D :D :D ...hehehe
...makes you wonder what type of recruits we have creeping through the net
 
#14
To answer the original question fully, yes, there are other units with similar problems.

I can't help wondering if the 'don't select out, train in' philosophy has something to do with this, with ATRs not being allowed to weed out those who are temperamentally unsuitable, and experienced NCOs being overruled by a system that needs to meet quotas.
 
#15
And we all know it's happening....guys are getting a harder time in their units than the ATR's...what would it take for there to be a complete overhaul in the way our recruits get through training?Stronger recruiting?You'd think that with the Army downsizing(again :evil: )we'd be able to improve the standard of recruit coming through.....surely?
 
#16
We had a spate of this recently on an exercise preparatory to deploying on TELIC; it is a serious issue and there are suspicions that a lot of it is an early symptom of "White Feathers Syndrome" and as has been pointed out it affects the young and immature. Often girlfriends are at the source of the probem... the thought of going a whole three weeks without the comforts offered by some chavette are too much for those who are 'in love', spelt L-u-s-t. :D

Our AGC Det Comd, an experienced officer, came up with a cunning ploy which should be introduced army wide without delay....

Cash pay them until they return unless they have been visited by the MAO(CH) or have seen a forces doctor at their nearest forces establisment who certifies their need to remain at home.


A marvellous idea that prevents them going on the piss at home whilst others take up the slack that their absence entails.

So simple, so elegant...naturally it needed an LE officer to come up with it!

If only someone in authority were to read this and act upon it... 8)
 
#17
Fit to travel (under their own steam) is how I always read the rules, so if the scrote is picked up by unit transport and then see's the unit MO instead of the 'easy Civvy MO' then at least they are back in camp!! Not good if you are a BFG or other oversees unit but in my last unit we had several (meaning 10's) of personnel who were under the civvy docs as 'depressed' unfit to travel etc etc etc, mil life isnt easy and in some circumstances quite difficult, the point made on earlier posts stateing they should be weeded out at ATRs isnt quite fair, it is difficult to get rid of anyone in phase 1 or for that matter phase 2 training, human rights etc spouted at every chance, I would personaly AGAI anyone who played the sick at home shit (providing you know its shit!!!) and be done with them, but then who would we have left?????
 
#19
Isn't this just another symptom of the underfunding of the DMS and UK admin network ? After all, if Pte Scrote knew that within 24 hours of ringing in "ooo it's all too terrible" he'd be back at base in front of an Army medical specialist then he wouldn't try to get away with it. Conversely genuine cases could be treated promptly and returned to duty (or politely shown the door via a med discharge) .
 
#20
In all seriousness, the real problem does not lie with the recruiters, the trainers or the doctors. It lies with the units.

Why are you having to take steps to force soldiers who are "a bit down" to stay in the environment that put them in that state in the first place? Sure the proactive response is to review the environment and to make it one that the soldiers want to stay in.

Now I don't mean wrapping them in cotton wool, because that is well known to have the opposite effect. What I mean is developing challenging training and work routines, looking at the areas of greatest boredom (Guard duties and general fatigues are classics) and seeing how these can be relieved by other means. Get some engagement with the soldiers and give them a job they can be proud of and you'll find that most of these problems disappear. Occasionally, in places that have done this effectively, soldiers have tried to come back early from justified sick leave because they miss the job!

Of course, the problem is that this is hard work for officers and SNCOs who would rather just get on with tackling the mountain of paperwork they already have. I can understand this. But identifying just one or two areas of routine that are undermining soldiers' morale, that fall within the CO's influence (there's a limit to what you can do about sh*t accommodation and prefab barrack blocks...), can pay dividends in morale, retention and reduced sickness absence rates.

IF
 

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