Military veterans with a long service record behind them are at no greater risk of developing mental health problems than civilians, new research suggests.
But the study indicates that recruits who leave the armed forces before completing their training are 50% more likely to develop a problem.
Mental health problems
Researchers at the University of Glasgow used information from the Scottish Veterans Health Study to analyse veterans’ hospital admissions for depression, anxiety disorders – including post-traumatic stress disorder – psychotic illnesses and other common mental health problems.
They say the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, suggests the chances of developing a mental health problem lessen with length of service.
The researchers say the data shows those who leave the forces earliest have a 50% greater risk of developing problems than people with no record of service.
Those with four years’ service or longer, though, are at no greater risk than civilians. Veterans with the longest service, meanwhile, see their risk reduce by 40%.
Combat doesn’t mean mental health problems
Dr Beverly Bergman, who led the research, says those in the highest risk bracket will not have experienced combat or even been deployed.
It is thought that “pre-service vulnerabilities” contribute to both long-term mental health problems and an early departure from the services.
Dr Bergman says the study suggests that longer service, which often entails more deployments, is linked with better mental health among most former personnel.
Source: The Scotsman
Date Published: May 9, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown