Sunday, 26 June 2016

Psychological care of miitary veterans

Roger Watson, Editor

According to the authors: 'Each year, a proportion of personnel leave military service, which may place strain on their mental and physical well-being as well as their successful reintegration into society. Returning from war zones into civilian life can precipitate stress or further exacerbate existing mental health problems.'  The aim of this study from the UK by Clarkson et al. (2016) was 'To evaluate the outcomes of participants attending a psychological therapies service for military veterans.'

The study investigates the Military Veterans’ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
Service (North West) (MV IAPT) and, as described by the authors: 'We undertook an observational, prospective cohort study of veterans accessing the MV IAPT service for a pilot period of 20 months from September 2011–April 2013. Data were collected anonymously from the clinical information system of general IAPT services, where standardized measures of depression, anxiety and social adjustment were administered to patients at each session and scores entered into the computerized system.'

Quoting directly from the article: 'Data were available on pre-(assessment) and post-treatment
(last available session) standardized measures for the 505 veteran patients accessing the service and receiving some form of treatment. Overall, across the whole sample, there were highly significant improvements on all measures. For the different types of service conclusion, there were highly significant improvements on all measures. These findings have implications for nurse therapists and others, working with this vulnerable patient group. In contrast to countries like the United States, where a dedicated infrastructure exists for veterans’ healthcare needs, the lack of specifically tailored help in the UK has been problematic. Many veterans have been confused by the different services on offer, their acceptance criteria and referral routes.'

The authors conclude: 'The findings reported here have much to offer in the context of providing
salient evidence, in particular to those commissioning mental health services, against the backcloth of an increased commitment to the veteran population, such as that in the Military Covenant, now enshrined in law.'


Clarkson C, Giebel CM, Challis D, Duthie P, Barrett A, Lambert H (2016) Outcomes from a pilot psychological therapies service for UK military veterans Nursing Open doi: 10.1002/nop2.57

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