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Safeguarding the military against mental health issues

Rhicha Kapila considers what more can be done to identify and treat service personnel with PTSD to ensure a better outcome

4 April 2017

The prevalence of military mental health issues, and the stigma attached, has been brought to the fore by the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. But the question remains: what more should be done by the Ministry of Defence to safeguard British servicemen and women against the chronic and debilitating long-term effects of mental health disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder?

Combat situations are likely to give rise to military PTSD, as servicemen and women are often exposed to life-endangering events. This can involve a direct threat to service personnel themselves, serious physical injury, or witnessing at close hand the death or serious injury of another. Psychiatrists advise that there are various ways in which symptoms of PTSD have been categorised over the years since the diagnosis first appeared in modern psychiatric literature in the 1980s. The most recent approach suggests that there are four...

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