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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Contrasting beliefs about screening for mental disorders among UK military personnel returning from deployment to Afghanistan

September, 2012
Article:

This study gathered opinions about screening for mental disorders in the UK Armed Forces. It was carried out to assess attitudes towards screening and assessment, and to explore further what barriers there are to people seeking help for their mental health.

Abstract

The objective of the study was to elicit beliefs and experiences of the value of a screening programme for mental illness among UK military personnel. Three months after returning from Afghanistan, 21 army personnel participated in a qualitative study about mental health screening. One-to-one interviews were conducted and recorded. Data-driven thematic analysis was used. Researchers identified master themes represented by extracts of text from the 21 complete transcripts. Participants made positive remarks on the advantages of screening. Noted barriers to seeking help included: unwillingness to receive advice, a wish to deal with any problems themselves and a belief that military personnel should be strong enough to cope with any difficulties. Participants believed that overcoming barriers to participating in screening and seeking help would be best achieved by making screening compulsory. Although respondents were positive about a screening programme for mental illness, the barriers to seeking help for mental illness appear deep rooted and reinforced by the value ascribed to hardiness.

Full Reference

Keeling M, Knight T, Sharp D, Fertout M, Greenberg N, Chesnokov M &and RJ. (2012) Contrasting beliefs about screening for mental disorders among UK military personnel returning from deployment to Afghanistan. J Med Screen 2012:1-6 DOI: 10.1258/jms.2012.012054.

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