• Prevalence of common mental health disorders in military veterans: using primary healthcare data

      Finnegan, Alan; Randles, Rebecca; University of Chester (BMJ Publishing Group, 2022-01-18)
      Introduction Serving military personnel and military veterans have been identified as having a high prevalence of mental disorders. Since 1985, UK patients’ primary healthcare (PHC) medical records contain Read Codes (now being replaced by Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) codes) that mark characteristics such as diagnosis, ethnicity and therapeutic interventions. This English study accesses a cohort profile of British Armed Forces veterans to examine the diagnosed common mental disorders by using PHC records. Methods This analysis has been drawn from initiatives with PHC practices in the Northwest of England to increase veteran registration in general practice. Demographic data were collected including gender, age and marital status. Data were also collected on common mental health disorders associated with the Armed Forces. Result 2449 veteran PHC records were analysed. 38% (N=938) of veterans in this cohort had a code on their medical record for common mental health disorders. The highest disorder prevalence was depression (17.8%, N=437), followed by alcohol misuse (17.3%, N=423) and anxiety (15.0%, N=367). Lower disorder prevalence was seen across post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (3.4%, N=83), dementia (1.8%, N=45) and substance misuse (0.8%, N=19). Female veterans had a higher prevalence of mental disorders than their male counterparts, while men a higher prevalence of PTSD; however, the gender difference in the latter was not significant (p>0.05). Conclusion The SNOMED searches do not detail why certain groups had higher recordings of certain disorders. A future study that accesses the PHC written medical notes would prove enlightening to specifically identify what situational factors are having the most impact on the veteran population. The results from a sizeable English veteran population provide information that should be considered in developing veteran-specific clinical provision, educational syllabus and policy.
    • Risk factors for intimate partner homicide in England and Wales

      Chopra, Jennifer; Sambrook, Laura; McLoughlin, Shane; Randles, Rebecca; Palace, Marek; Blinkhorn, Victoria; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Birmingham; University of Chester (Wiley, 2022-02-17)
      Intimate partner homicides are often situated within the context of domestic abuse, and although less prevalent than domestic abuse, there have been several multi-agency approaches to understanding the risk for these fatal crimes. Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) were introduced in 2011 to provide information to help with assessing such risk. This paper aims to analyse DHRs in England and Wales to investigate/determine risk factors for domestic homicide following intimate partner abuse. All publicly available DHRs published between July 2011 and November 2020 where the victim and perpetrator were or had been intimate partners (N = 263) were retrieved from Community Safety Partnership websites in England and Wales. A quantitative design was used to extract data from DHRs, and descriptive and inferential statistics were generated by SPSS 26. Findings identified risk factors relating to domestic abuse, including stalking, separation, and the victim being in a new relationship. Sociodemographic risk factors included higher levels of deprivation, lower income and higher barriers to housing and services. This highlights the role of both individual and sociodemographic factors in domestic homicides, and particularly the need for greater socioeconomic security for victims of domestic abuse. In conclusion, though much of the data is in line with previous research, our analysis highlights the pivotal role of regional poverty, with comfortable socioeconomic conditions offering protection against intimate partner homicides. This research suggests important directions for future research and makes a valuable contribution to a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between domestic abuse and intimate partner homicide.
    • Veteran help-seeking behaviour for mental health issues: a systematic review

      Randles, Rebecca; Finnegan, Alan; University of Chester (BMJ Military Health, 2021-07-12)
      Introduction Serving military personnel and veterans have been identified to have a high prevalence of mental health disorders. Despite this, only a significantly small number seek mental healthcare. With the UK beginning to invest further support to the armed forces community, identification of barriers and facilitators of help-seeking behaviour is needed. Methods Corresponding literature search was conducted in PsycINFO, PsycArticles, Medline, Web of Science and EBSCO. Articles which discussed barriers and facilitators of seeking help for mental health concerns in the veteran population were included. Those which discussed serving personnel or physical problems were not included within this review. A total of 26 papers were analysed. Results A number of barriers and facilitators of help-seeking for a mental health issue within the veteran population were identified. Barriers included stigma, military culture of stoicism and self-reliance, as well as deployment characteristics of combat exposure and different warzone deployments. Health service difficulties such as access and lack of understanding by civilian staff were also identified. Facilitators to help combat these barriers included a campaign to dispel the stigma, including involvement of veterans and training of military personnel, as well as more accessibility and understanding from healthcare staff. Conclusions While some barriers and facilitators have been identified, much of this research has been conducted within the USA and on male veterans and lacks longitudinal evidence. Further research is needed within the context of other nations and female veterans and to further indicate the facilitators of help-seeking among veterans.