British Military men and women are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. A new study has found that Depression and anxiety numbers in the military are double those in civilian populations.
The research, which was conducted by Kings College London, examined 7,000 military personnel and compared them to a group of working age people in the general public. Their results show 18% of men in the military and 25% of women report symptoms of mental disorders. In the general population, only 8% of men and 12% of women reported similar problems.
The researchers said that the higher depression and anxiety numbers are probably caused by the stress of military careers combined with the fact that military service often means long periods away from loved ones.
The study’s lead author, Dr Laura Goodwin said, "This [report] highlights that symptoms of depression and anxiety are common in the armed forces. In fact, they are more common than alcohol misuse or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings draw attention to the need for Defence Medical Services to continue to focus on identifying and treating depression and anxiety in addition to PTSD."
With the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a large influx of British military members returning home after serving in combat situations. If these people do not receive help for any potential problems, they may struggle with serious mental illnesses later in life. Mental scars and trauma can fester over time if not addressed and cause serious mental health issues.
In response to the study findings, a spokeswoman for the MoD has said "Since 2008, the last data used in this study, the MoD has made a number of improvements to the mental health services available to the armed forces. These include pre and post-operational stress management briefings, decompression, Trauma Risk Management, and the Big White Wall online wellbeing service. In addition, the MoD has introduced several anti-stigma campaigns to encourage serving personnel who need help to come forward to access the wide range of support that is available."