resources: PTSD and mental health

August 2013

This paper, published by ForcesWatch and Child Soldiers International, indicates that the risk of fatality in Afghanistan for British Army recruits aged 16 and completed training has been twice as high as it has for those enlisting at 18 or above. This increased risk reflects the disproportionately high number of 16 year olds who join front-line Infantry roles. This is mainly the result of recruitment policies which drive the youngest recruits into the Army’s most dangerous roles.

June 2011

These BBC radio programmes explore the effect of killing on people in the military, how many are unable to kill and others live with the effects of having killed for the rest of their lives.

May 2010

A study published in May 2010 called What are the consequences of deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan on the mental health of the UK armed forces? found that armed forces personnel engaged in combat suffered PTSD at over twice the rate of the general population and that the symptoms may start to present themselves for up to a decade after deployment. The occurrence of other mental disorders, at nearly 20%, is also higher than the general population.

November 2007

An independent report by David Gee, published in 2007, highlighting the risks posed to young people through joining the military, how young people from disadvantaged communities are targeted, how information available to potential recruits is often misleading and how the terms of service are complicated, confusing and severely restricting. The research found that a large proportion join for negative reasons, including the lack of civilian career options.

2007

There are many active veterans groups in the US. The Veterans’ Education and Outreach Project has produced a guide called Advice From Veterans on Military Service and Recruiting Practices. Although much of the information in the guide is mainly relevant to the United States, it does cover a number of important considerations for those considering enlisting in any army such as Conscientious Objection and War and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Research from the UK and US about suicide and self-harm among those in the military and ex-military.

"The risk of suicide in men aged 24 y and younger who had left the Armed Forces was approximately two to three times higher than the risk for the same age groups in the general and serving populations"

"More U.S. military personnel have died by suicide since the war in Afghanistan began than have died fighting there."

Combat Stress works with veterans who leave the Armed Forces with psychological wounds. These can lead to depression, phobias, anxiety, relationship problems and, in some cases, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).