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What happens to the mental health of UK service personnel after they return home from Afghanistan?
  1. Elizabeth Banwell1,
  2. N Greenberg2,
  3. P Smith1,
  4. N Jones2 and
  5. M Fertout2
  1. 1Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
  2. 2Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Banwell, Addiction Sciences Building, Institute of Psychiatry, Addictions a Science Building, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF, UK; elizabeth.banwell{at}


Objective Fear et al identified a small but significant increase in probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in UK military personnel from around 3% in first year post deployment to around 6% by year 5. As yet it is not clear what factors are linked to the increase in probable PTSD, and therefore, serial measurement of poor mental health would be helpful.

Method Rates of mental ill health among UK service personnel were compared upon deployment completion and at follow-up and identified factors associated with maladjustment.

Results Poor mental health symptomatology increased from baseline to follow-up, PTSD symptoms and related functional impairment increased significantly. Poor baseline mental health was predictive of transition and family relationship difficulties.

Conclusions The results are discussed in relation to encouraging recognition and reporting of symptoms among personnel and their social networks.

  • Transition
  • Homecoming
  • PTSD

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