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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Contribution of mental ill health during military service to postservice benefit claims in the UK

January, 2021
Article:

This paper explores the degree to which in-service mental health problems impact on post-service benefit claims.

Abstract

While most UK military personnel transition successfully into civilian life, some experience unemployment and disability, which may be partly attributable to in-service factors. This study aims to determine the degree to which in-service mental health problems impact on postservice benefit claims. Mental illness occurring in-service predicted both unemployment and disability claims, partly mediated by postservice health (23%–52% total effects mediated), but alcohol misuse did not. Common mental disorder (CMD) (PAF 0.07, 95% CI: 0.02 to 0.11) and probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PAF 0.05, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.09) contributed to unemployment claims. Probable PTSD was the largest contributor to disability claims (PAF 0.25, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.36), with a smaller contribution from CMD (PAF 0.16, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.27). In-service mental ill health gives rise to benefit claims. These effects are only partly mediated by postservice mental health, implying that in-service (or pre-service) mental issues have carry-over effects into civilian life even if remitted. Better prevention and treatment of in-service PTSD symptoms may well reduce postservice disability claims.

Full Reference

Burdett H, Fear NT, Wessely S, et al. Contribution of mental ill health during military service to post-service benefit claims in the UK Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2021;78:643-647.

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