This study sought to further understanding of gender differences in barriers that may discourage female veterans from accessing mental healthcare support.
While stigma, previous poor experience of mental healthcare and a lack of trust in civilian providers were found to act as barriers to postmilitary support for both men and women, significantly more women reported that their gender had also impacted on their intention to seek help. Women also commented on the impact of gender-related discrimination during service on their help-seeking experiences. While efforts are being made by the UK Ministry of Defence to reduce barriers to mental healthcare for those still serving in the Armed Forces, it has been more difficult to provide a similar level of support to the veteran population. With little veteran research focusing on the specific experiences of women, this study suggests that female veterans encounter specific access barriers and issues related to their gender. Further research is therefore needed to ensure these findings are addressed.
Godier-McBard LR, Cable G, Wood AD, et alGender differences in barriers to mental healthcare for UK military veterans: a preliminary investigationBMJ Mil Health Published Online First: 26 April 2021. doi: 10.1136/bmjmilitary-2020-001754