HEALTH / WELL-BEING

UK military doctors; stigma, mental health and help-seeking: a comparative cohort study

Article

This paper explores the mental health and wellbeing of military doctors, detailing a study in which attitudes to mental health, self-stigma, psychological distress and help-seeking among UK Armed Forces doctors were discussed.

Abstract

Introduction Studies suggest that medical doctors can suffer from substantial levels of mental ill-health. Little is known about military doctors’ mental health and wellbeing; we therefore assessed attitudes to mental health, self-stigma, psychological distress and help-seeking among UK Armed Forces doctors. Military doctors reported fewer mental disorder symptoms than the comparison groups. They endorsed higher levels of stigmatising beliefs, negative attitudes to mental healthcare, desire to self-manage and self-stigmatisation than each of the comparison groups. They were most concerned about potential negative effects of and peer perceptions about receiving a mental disorder diagnosis. Military doctors reporting historical and current relationship, and alcohol or mental health problems were significantly and substantially less likely to seek help than the comparison groups. Although there are a number of study limitations, outcomes suggest that UK military doctors report lower levels of mental disorder symptoms, higher levels of stigmatising beliefs and a lower propensity to seek formal support than other military reference groups.

Full Reference

Jones, N., Whybrow, D. and Coetzee, R., 2018. UK military doctors; stigma, mental health and help-seeking: a comparative cohort study. Journal of the Royal Medical Army Corps, 164, 259-266.