• Serving within the British army: research into mental health benefits

      Finnegan, Alan; Finnegan, Sara; McGee, Paula; Srinivasan, Mike; Simpson, Robin; University of Chester (Mark Allen Group, 2011-10-28)
      The mental health (MH) of soldiers remains extremely newsworthy and is regularly featured in high profile media forums that focus on post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the authors feel that there are distinct benefits to serving within the Army, and that it provides effective occupational medical, MH and welfare support. This research study explores potential benefits and stressors of being in the Army and provides an overview of Army mental health services (AMHS) through the perspectives of AMHS personnel, 84% of which were nurses. The study indicated that the Army can provide a protective community, sharing a bond based on common values and experiences. The Army can provide soldiers with career opportunities that are not available in civilian life, and there are opportunities to develop an employment profile, enhanced by internal and external educational training, and encapsulated within a progressive career pathway. The Army can also be seen to offer an escape route, preventing soldiers entering a life of crime, and supplying the stable family these soldiers had never experienced. The provision of leadership, within an environment where soldiers are valued and stigma is not tolerated can potentially shield against MH problems.