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Personalised digital technology for mental health in the armed forces: the potential, the hype and the dangers
  1. Daniel Leightley1 and
  2. D Murphy2
  1. 1 King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Research Department, Combat Stress, Leatherhead, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel Leightley, King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK; dan.l{at}


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a digital technology revolution which included widespread use in remote healthcare settings, remote working and use of technology to support friends and family to stay in touch. The armed forces have also increased its use of digital technology, but not at the same rate, and it is important that they do not fall behind in the revolution. One area where digital technology could be helpful is the treatment and management of mental health conditions. In a civilian setting, digital technology adoption has been found to be acceptable and feasible yet there is little use in the armed forces. In this personal view, we explore the potential use of personalised digital technology for mental health, the hype surrounding it and the dangers.

This paper forms part of the special issue of BMJ Military Health dedicated to personalised digital technology for mental health in the armed forces.

  • Health informatics
  • Telemedicine

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  • Contributors DL wrote the first draft of this personal viewpoint. DM provided critical review and comments on all subsequent versions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests DL is a reservist in the UK Armed Forces (Army). This work has been undertaken as part of his civilian employment. DM is employed by Combat Stress, a national charity in the UK that provides clinical mental health services to veterans and is a trustee of the Forces in Mind Trust.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.