This paper describes a framework for understanding military combat mental health based on the possible mental ill-health consequences of exposure to ‘potential trauma events’ for members of the armed forces and after their military service as veterans. It uses a life course approach that maps an individual’s mental well-being against four ‘states’: fit, reacting, injured and ill. It then considers five categories of factors that influence the risk of mental illness from this exposure based on research evidence; prejoining vulnerability, resilience, precipitating, treatment and recovery. This framework offers a structure to debate current knowledge, inform policy and therapeutic interventions, provide education and to guide future research into the subject.
- mental health
- occupational & industrial medicine
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Contributors MB is the sole contributor.
Funding This study was funded by UK Research and Innovation GCRF Research for Health in Conflict (ES/P010962/1).
Competing interests MB reports grants from UK Research and Innovation GCRF Research for Health in Conflict, during the conduct of the study and retired from the post of Surgeon General for the UK Defence Medical Services on 14 December 2018.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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