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Comparing the profiles of UK and Australian military veterans supported by national treatment programmes for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Abstract

Introduction The aim of this study was to compare and contrast the profiles of military veterans seeking formal support for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in national treatment programmes in Australia and the UK to better understand the needs of this vulnerable population.

Methods Data were extracted from 1926 participants in these treatment programmes. This consisted of 1230 from the UK who had accessed support between 2014 and early 2019, and 696 from Australia who had accessed support between 2014 and 2018. Comparison was made between a number of sociodemographic characteristics (age, sex and educational achievements), military factors (branch of military, time since leaving the military and whether participants were early service leavers or not) and health outcomes (PTSD, anger, alcohol misuse, anxiety and depression).

Results Small differences were observed, with those in the UK cohort appearing to be younger, having lower educational achievement, being more likely to be ex-Army, having longer periods of enlistment in the military and taking longer to seek help. Further, minor differences were reported in health outcomes, with those in the UK cohort reporting more severe symptoms of PTSD, anger, anxiety and depression.

Conclusions Overall, the observed differences between the cohorts were modest, suggesting that treatment-seeking veterans from the Australian and UK cohorts reported similar presentations. This provides evidence to support the establishment of international cohorts of treatment-seeking veterans to improve knowledge within this field.

  • veterans
  • PTSD
  • mental health
  • help-seeking
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