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Rear Operations Group medicine: a pilot study of psychological decompression in a Rear Operations Group during Operation HERRICK 14
  1. Wasyl Nimenko1 and
  2. R G Simpson2
  1. 1Rear Operations Group Civilian Medical Practitioner, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, UK
  2. 2Defence Medical Services, Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Col R G Simpson, L/RAMC GP Dean, Defence Healthcare Education and Training, Tamar House Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS14 9PY, UK; simpsonrg1{at}


Objectives To investigate group activity psychological decompression (GAPD) in a Rear Operations Group.

Methods Provision of military archaeological exercises for a Rear Operations Group's medical centre patients during Op HERRICK 14 with analysis of before and after Patient Health Questionnaires (PHQ), Work and Social Adjustment Scales, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) 7 Anxiety, Audit Questionnaire and Impact of Events Scale Revised and analysis of interviews with supervisors and soldiers.

Results Soldiers reported a mean of 13%–38% improvement across the self-reported domains. The civilian archaeologists reported improvements in self-esteem, morale and team-working. 10 out of 24 soldiers have expressed an interest to pursue archaeology further; eight soldiers disclosed mental health issues for the first time, four of whom required mental health referral.

Conclusions GAPD can help early-returned soldiers in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, isolation and psychological traumatic symptoms. It also helps to increase perception of their ability to work and socialise as a team and help them to an early return to work. It can provide soldiers with the opportunity to approach their supervisors in an informal manner and help in early detection of mental health problems.

  • Mental Health
  • Primary Care

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