RUSI JournalVolume 156Issue 2

The Mental Health of UK Armed Forces Personnel: The Impact of Iraq and Afghanistan

Deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan has not led to increased mental health problems amongst UK armed forces personnel, but alcohol misuse is an ongoing concern

The legacy of Gulf War Syndrome led to fears that the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 would have an effect on the mental health of the UK armed forces. Contrary to many people's expectations, deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan has not led to an increase in mental health problems and the overall number of personnel with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is low. But there have been some costs: reservists and combat personnel are more at risk of mental health problems, and alcohol misuse continues to be rife amongst regulars.

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