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The mental health needs of serving and ex-Service personnel

A systematic review

Military
Published: May 2020

A systematic review

Aims

The study brings together evidence on the prevalence of mental health problems in serving and ex-Service personnel and their families, the experiences of those suffering from mental health problems and the effectiveness of interventions used to treat them.

Findings

A full summary of the findings and recommendations from the study is available in the executive summary available below.

Some selected recommendations from the study include the following:

  • Earlier identification of ‘at-risk individuals’ and early intervention to prevent escalation of mental health problems.
  • Improved awareness amongst healthcare professionals of the needs of ex-Service personnel and their entitlement to priority support.
  • Greater connectivity between Armed Forces and civilian services, to manage the transition to civilian life and ensure ex-Service personnel do not slip through the net. 
  • Increased education on mental health and stigma for military personnel and their families, to support help seeking and address concerns around career impacts.

Methods 

The research combined a systematic review (a rigorous and systematic process to find and select research studies, then synthesise their findings) with a set of interviews with stakeholders from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), NHS England, veteran charities and academic institutions.

Download the executive summary

Download the full report

Download the technical annex