Armed Forces: Trauma

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 18th March 2020.

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Photo of Dave Doogan Dave Doogan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Agriculture and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) screening, (b) support and (c) treatment services are provided to armed forces personnel in relation to the effects of trauma.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) worked closely with King's College London on a study (funded by the US Department of Defense) into the use of a screening tool for mental health issues. The results of the study were published in 'The Lancet' in 2017[1] and found that screening was not effective in reducing symptoms of mental health disorders or encouraging personnel to seek help, compared to the general mental health advice which is the standard of care in the UK military.

The single Services have long standing welfare structures in place for supporting personnel. Personnel can use, and Commanders can call on, this wide range of resources as and when required. These resources are diverse and for example include welfare officers, padres and support provided by charities such as SSAFA. Both SSAFA and MOD's Veterans UK have general helplines, however, when required they will signpost individuals to the Combat Stress 24hour mental health helpline.

For those personnel requiring medical intervention, MOD has its own well-established mental health service. Our mental health services are configured to provide community-based mental health care in line with national best practice. We do this primarily through our 11 military Departments of Community Mental Health across the UK, which provide out-patient mental healthcare. A wide range of psychiatric and psychological treatments are available, including medication, evidence-based talking therapies, and environmental adjustment where appropria

[1] Rona, R et al (2017) Post-deployment screening for mental health disorders and tailored advice about help-seeking in the UK military: a cluster randomised controlled trial

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