The impact of in-Service physical injury or illness on the mental health of military veterans

Hynes, C, Scullion, LC ORCID:, Lawler, C ORCID:, Steel, R and Boland, P 2021, 'The impact of in-Service physical injury or illness on the mental health of military veterans' , BMJ Military Health .

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Access Information: This article has been accepted for publication in BMJ Military Health, 2021 following peer review, and the Version of Record can be accessed online at © Authors (or their employer(s)) 2021


Background Each year approximately 2000 UK service personnel are medically discharged with physical and/or psychological injury or illness. While there is much research on both psychological injury and physical injury, the challenges of transition relating to the intersection between the two has received less attention. This article reports on the first phase of a two-year funded study with the aim to understand the lived experiences of veterans who have been discharged from service with a physical injury or illness and the impacts of this on their mental health. Methods Using a qualitative methodology, 22 veterans who had been discharged from service within the last eight years were interviewed to identify key aspects of their experience of the transition process. Results The article highlights two key themes: how some veterans adjusted to life with a physical injury or condition; and, the intersections that became apparent between physical injury and mental health. The challenges that veterans faced were shaped not only by the transition process, but also by the way in which the medical discharge process was conducted. Conclusions Consideration of improvements to the medical discharge process could influence better outcomes for those who have left with a physical injury or illness and later find themselves struggling with mental health issues. Key messages • Discharge due to physical injury or illness can have long term implications for mental health • The discharge and subsequent transition process can impact on veteran wellbeing over a significant period of time • There is a need for mental health support both before and after discharge for Service Personnel with physical injuries or conditions

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: BMJ Military Health
Publisher: BMJ Publishing
ISSN: 2633-3767
Related URLs:
Funders: Forces in Mind Trust
Depositing User: C Lawler
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 15:10
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 06:44

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