A new study by The King’s College London has found that 18% of men and 25% of women in the armed forces reported symptoms of common mental disorders, compared to 8% of men and 12% of women in civilian life.
Lead author Dr Laura Goodwin said: “The findings were not what we expected. We didn’t think there would be such a difference between members of the military and the rest of the general population.
“We know that other studies which recruit people just because they are in a particular occupation, such as teaching or social work, also find higher reports of anxiety and depression.”
Prof Nicola Fear, from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, said: “This [report] highlights that symptoms of depression and anxiety are common in the armed forces. In fact, they are more common than alcohol misuse or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“The findings draw attention to the need for Defence Medical Services to continue to focus on identifying and treating depression and anxiety in addition to PTSD.”
Elsewhere, mental health charity, Combat Stress, said there had been a significant increase in the number of UK veterans of the Afghanistan conflict seeking help. It said it had received 358 new veteran referrals in 2013, a 57% rise on 2012.
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