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The Operational Mental Health Consequences of Deployment to Iraq For UK Forces
  1. Major N Jones1,
  2. N Greenberg1,
  3. N T Fear1,
  4. M Earnshaw2,
  5. P Mcallister4,
  6. G Reid3 and
  7. S Wessely1
  1. 1Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health, Weston Education Centre, 10 Cutcombe Road, King’s College, London. SE5 9RJ
  2. 2DMSD, Floor 7, Zone B St George's Court 2-12 Bloomsbury Way London WC1A 2SH
  3. 3Department of Community Mental Health, RAF Brize Norton, Carterton, Oxon, OX18 3lX
  4. 4Department of Community Mental Health Tidworth, The Queen Elizabeth Memorial Health Centre, St Michaels Avenue, Tidworth, Wiltshire, SP9 7EA

Abstract

UK Forces are currently engaged in high tempo, high intensity operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Concern has been raised about the impact of current operations upon the mental health of Service personnel. Using data gathered from deployed Field Mental Health Teams, a random sample of UK based non-deployed Community Mental Health Teams and services dedicated to mobilising, de-mobilising and to de-mobilised Reserve Forces, this paper explores the current mental health burden for UK Forces. At present, operationally related psychological disorders do not appear to be a substantial concern for Regular Forces, although for the minority that suffer such problems they are both distressing and of occupational relevance. Proportionately there are more mobilised Reserve Forces seeking help for mental health problems than Regular Forces on operations, but the overall burden that they currently place upon the Defence Mental Health Services is small. There is at present no evidence of an epidemic of mental health problems amongst either Regular or Reserve Forces veterans of the Op TELIC deployment, however, this may change in the future given the evolving nature and fluctuating intensity of operational activity.

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