Mental health is a crucial part of our overall health, and it includes a person’s psychological, social, and emotional wellbeing.
Marking World Mental Health Day 2023, Isobel Stokes, paralegal in the Hugh James military team discusses the impact military service can have on mental health and the treatment available.
The 10th of October is known as World Mental Health Day. It is a global initiative that works to raise greater awareness for mental health conditions and the treatments available to those struggling. This year’s theme is ‘Mental health is a universal human right.’
Around the world people often try to give the impression that they are doing better than they are when it comes to their mental health. However, as military specialists, we know that military personnel and veterans face specific risks and challenges. High intensity situations, long periods away from loved ones, and difficulty adjusting to civilian life can have a long-lasting impact on mental health and wellbeing.
On a day-to-day basis we work with individuals with PTSD, which can be triggered by either a single incident or through a culmination of distressing events. Those suffering with PTSD then often relive the traumatic experience(s) through flashbacks and experience feelings of isolation, irritability, and guilt.
Media portrayal and the stigma often attached to PTSD can leave military personnel feeling unable to speak out. However, there are many support mechanisms and networks available to ensure that those individuals can receive the treatment they need to manage their symptoms and move forward with their lives.
If you are experiencing long term symptoms, your GP can refer you to a specialist for further support. In England, referrals can be sent to Op Courage, which is an umbrella term for the Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), the Complex Treatment Service (CTS) and the High Intensity Service (HIS). Veterans NHS can then provide support for veterans based in Wales. There are also external charities like Combat Stress, PTSD Resolution, and Help for Heroes who can also provide support.
These organisations can then suggest a variety of treatments, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). However, we do acknowledge that the above treatments may not be suitable for everyone and PTSD UK report that medication, music therapy, and hydrotherapy can help as alternative treatments.
It is never too late to ask for help and there is plenty of expert advice out there to ensure that those struggling with their mental health are not alone. We encourage those reluctant to seek help to make that initial step and see the variety of support available, including Veterans’ Gateway.