Stress Awareness Month: Stress and Working in the Armed Forces

Gavin Hughes Military Accident Solicitor
Author:
Gavin Hughes
Partner, Military Claims Solicitor
Date:
26/04/2021

This month is Stress Awareness Month, a national campaign to raise awareness of both the causes and treatments for stress.

In the last year, nearly three-quarters of UK adults have suffered from stress so severe that felt overwhelmed and unable to cope, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

But figures from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) state that stress among servicemen and women is “broadly comparable” with the UK general population.

That’s a worrying statistic, and one that highlights the need for the psychological state of Armed Forces personnel to be given particular attention.

According to MoD figures, 1 in 8 service men and women were seen by military healthcare services for a mental health-related reason during 2019-20.

The personnel accessing military mental healthcare services came from all age groups, but notably, females were more likely to seek help than males. That’s reflective of wider trends in the UK population, and means much more needs to be done to break the stigma among men of speaking out about mental health issues.

Help is out there for those who need it, and we shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about accessing these vital services.

Why Do Service Personnel Get PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a particular problem among service personnel, as they may be involved in traumatic incidents in war zones. But occasionally, a member of the Armed Forces could be involved in a traumatic incident that’s the result of negligence by the MoD.

There may also be incidents such as bullying and sexual abuse that take place, which can have a huge psychological impact on the victim.

Thankfully, the MoD has worked hard in recent years to not only identify people suffering from PTSD and other psychological problems, but also get them the treatment they need.

But mistakes can and do happen, and sometimes PTSD injuries aren’t identified by military medics or senior officers. As a result, the sufferer doesn’t get the medical care and treatment they need at all or soon as they should have done.

What are the Common Symptoms of PTSD?

There are many warning signs that suggest a person is suffering from PTSD, including:

  • Anger management problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Phobias
  • Panic attacks
  • Self-harming
  • Excessive drinking and drug use

People We’ve Helped

If you believe you’ve suffered with mental health issues partly because mistakes were made by the MoD, contact our friendly, supportive Military Claims Solicitors for a free claims assessment.

We have a strong track record of helping service personnel past and present get the compensation they deserve, so they can access the care, support and rehabilitation they need for as long as they need it.

In one notable case, we helped a British soldier who was diagnosed with PTSD recover £190,000 in compensation. Our client was travelling in an armoured vehicle in Afghanistan when it was attacked, and after he returned to the UK, he started having nightmares and mood swings, and started drinking and gambling heavily.

Although he reported his issues to his medical centre, he wasn’t referred for a proper treatment programme, and his symptoms got worse during subsequent tours of duty in Kenya and Afghanistan.

It was only after returning from his final tour that he was finally referred for a proper course of treatment. It was at this point that he contacted us to help him claim PTSD compensation, as he should have been referred much sooner and not assigned to tours that made his injury worse.

Thankfully, the case was settled without the need to go to Court, and we negotiated a fair and reasonable compensation settlement on his behalf. Read here for more information on this case.

For free legal advice call our Military Personal Injury Solicitors

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