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European military mental health research: benefits of collaboration
  1. Hubertus Himmerich1,2,
  2. GD Willmund1,
  3. U Wesemann1,
  4. N Jones2,3 and
  5. NT Fear2,3
  1. 1Centre for Psychiatry and Psychotraumatology, German Armed Forces Hospital, Berlin, Germany
  2. 2Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College London, London, UK
  3. 3King's Centre for Military Health Research and Academic Department of Military Mental Health, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hubertus Himmerich, Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College London, 103 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK; hubertus.himmerich{at}kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

Despite joint participation in international military operations, few collaborative military mental health research projects have been undertaken by European countries. From a common perspective of military mental health researchers from Germany and the UK, the lack of shared research might be related not only to the use of different languages but also the different ways in which the two militaries provide mental health and medical support to operations and differences in military institutions. One area that is suitable for military health research collaboration within UK and German forces is mental health and well-being among military personnel. This could include the study of resilience factors, the prevention of mental disorder, mental health awareness, stigma reduction and the treatment of mental disorder. Military mental health research topics, interests and the studies that have been conducted to date in the UK and Germany have considerable overlap and commonality of purpose. To undertake the investigation of the long-term consequences of operational deployment, the specific burdens placed on military families and to further the understanding of the role of factors such as biomarkers for use in military mental health research, it seems advisable to forge international research alliances across European nations, which would allow for researchers to draw transcultural and generalisable conclusions from their work. Such an enterprise is probably worthwhile given the shared research interests of Germany and the UK and the common perspectives on military mental health in particular.

  • military mental health
  • European research
  • prevention
  • treatment
  • long-term effects
  • Received June 20, 2016.
  • Revision received September 7, 2016.
  • Accepted November 6, 2016.

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  • Received June 20, 2016.
  • Revision received September 7, 2016.
  • Accepted November 6, 2016.
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Footnotes

  • Contributors All authors have contributed substantially to the planning and writing of this article. HH is responsible for the overall content as guarantor.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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