HEALTH / WELL-BEING

A service evaluation of self-referral to military mental health teams

Article

This article evaluates whether self-referral to mental health services works within a military environment.

Abstract

The UK military runs a comprehensive mental health service ordinarily accessed via primary care referrals. To evaluate the feasibility of self-referral to mental health services within a military environment. Three pilot sites were identified; one from each service (Royal Navy, Army, Air Force). Sociodemographic information included age, rank, service and career duration. Clinical data included prior contact with general practitioner (GP), provisional diagnosis and assessment outcome. Of the 57 self-referrals, 69% (n = 39) had not previously accessed primary care for their current difficulties. After their mental health assessment, 47 (82%) were found to have a formal mental health problem and 41 (72%) were offered a further mental health clinician appointment. The data compared favourably with a large military mental health department that reported 87% of primary care referrals had a formal mental health condition. The majority of self-referrals had formal mental health conditions for which they had not previously sought help from primary care; most were offered further clinical input. This supports the view that self-referral may be a useful option to encourage military personnel to seek professional care over and above the usual route of accessing care through their GP.

Full Reference

Kennedy, I., Whybrow, D., Jones, N., Sharpley, J. and Greenberg, N., 2016. A service evaluation of self-referral to military mental health teams. Occupational Medicine, kqw044.