The Army offers a wealth of healthcare support and services to soldiers and their dependants whether they are based in the UK or overseas. Information covers aspects of casualty care on the battlefield, mental healthcare for individuals (including Reserves), and family healthcare, including GP services, hospital care, dental care, maternity services and vaccinations.
We recognise mental illness, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as a serious and disabling medical condition but one which can be treated.
- Personnel receive training and briefings to increase their awareness of mental health issues and stress management.
- All Medical Officers, Combat Medical Assistants and Nurses are trained to recognise the signs of mental illness.
- Officers, Junior and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (JNCO/SNCOs) are routinely trained in methods of suicide prevention and stress management.
- "Decompression" is provided. This is a scheduled period following a deployment on operations in which personnel are given time to mentally and physically unwind.
- Families of returning personnel are offered presentations and issued with leaflets to educate them about the possible after-effects of a deployment on operations.
- Welfare Officers, Padres and other associated organisations also provide information to families.
All soldiers are trained and equipped to provide First Aid.
Soldiers work in small teams. Each team has a Medic who has received extra training and who carries additional medical equipment. The Medic can apply a tourniquet, maintain an airway to help a casualty breathe and prioritise patients for evacuation according to medical need.
Larger teams of soldiers, or soldiers engaged in high risk activities, will have the support of one or more Army Medics, also known as Combat Medical Technicians (CMT).
Soldiers also have access to a Regimental Medical Officer (RMO), who is able to provide the same level of medical attention as a General Practitioner.
Sometimes injured soldiers require care which can only be provided in a hospital and procedures are in place to secure the required and best care available for our people.
Personnel exposed to the operational environment will experience stress to a greater or lesser degree. This is quite normal but only a small number will suffer from stress that leads to mental health issues. Further to that, only a small percentage will encounter Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Soldiers run the risk of operational stress through the pressure of deployment and their possible exposure to extremely traumatic situations and events.
It is Army policy that mental health issues be properly recognised and treated, and that all efforts are made to reduce the stigma associated with them.
There are 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) providing outpatient mental health care in the UK. All are staffed by psychiatrists and mental health nurses with access to clinical psychologists and mental health social workers, offering treatments including medication, psychological therapies and environmental adjustment where appropriate.
The MOD's current delivery of mental health care follows a 1994 report which resulted in a move away from military hospitals.
As a result, the last military psychiatric hospital, the Duchess of Kent Psychiatric Hospital in Yorkshire was closed and in-patient care is provided now in specialised psychiatric units.