HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Cohesion, leadership, mental health stigmatisation and perceived barriers to care in UK military personnel

Article

This study collected data over a long period of time to investigate the barriers to care (BTC) that military personnel face. This article considers what the barriers to care might be and the impact that stigma has on personnel in relation to BTC.

Abstract

Military research suggests a significant association between leadership, cohesion, mental health stigmatisation and perceived barriers to care (stigma/BTC). Most studies are cross sectional, therefore longitudinal data were used to examine the association of leadership and cohesion with stigma/BTC. At follow-up, baseline leadership and cohesion were significantly associated with stigma/BTC; baseline cohesion alone was significantly associated with awareness of and willingness to discuss mental health at follow-up. Over time, changes in perceived leadership and cohesion were significantly associated with corresponding changes in stigma/BTC levels. Stigma/BTC content was similar in both surveys; fear of being viewed as weak and being treated differently by leaders was most frequently endorsed while thinking less of a help-seeking team member and unawareness of potential help sources were least common. Effective leadership and cohesion building may help to reduce stigma/BTC in military personnel. Mental health awareness and promoting the discussion of mental health matters may represent core elements of supportive leader behaviour. Perceptions of weakness and fears of being treated differently represent a focus for stigma/BTC reduction.

Full Reference

Norman Jones, Ben Campion, Mary Keeling & Neil Greenberg (2016): Cohesion, leadership, mental health stigmatisation and perceived barriers to care in UK military personnel, Journal of Mental Health, DOI: 10.3109/09638237.2016.1139063.