J R Army Med Corps 160:125-130 doi:10.1136/jramc-2013-000213
  • Review

The mental health of the UK Armed Forces in the 21st century: resilience in the face of adversity

  1. N Greenberg1,3
  1. 1King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London, Weston Education Centre, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
  3. 3Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health (ACDMH), Weston Education Centre, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Deirdre MacManus, Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry PO 23, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK; Deirdre.macmanus{at}


The recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have attracted considerable political and media interest in the mental health of UK military personnel. As a result of the close operational collaboration between US and UK forces, there have inevitably been many comparisons drawn between the mental health status of the two forces. Considerable research activity suggests that the mental health of UK forces appear to have remained relatively resilient in spite of their considerable exposure to traumatic events; one stark exception to this is the high rates of alcohol misuse which seem to be related to deployment. This paper explores the recently published literature relating to UK military forces and attempts to draw conclusions about the reasons for the apparent resilience shown by the majority of the regular forces.

  • Received November 20, 2013.
  • Accepted December 10, 2013.
  • Published Online First 26 February 2014

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