Serving in the armed forces in any capacity, including in armed combat, can take a significant toll on personal well-being, a connection that has long been studied and addressed by researchers and other professionals. Understanding which people may be more susceptible to the development of psychological issues as a result of their experiences is of great importance for not only treating these issues but for helping to prevent them, as well, and ongoing efforts to identify key risk factors hold the potential to improve the quality of life of both active duty personnel and veterans. The UK’s Ministry of Defense has recently released data showing that women serving in the three main branches of the military are more than twice as likely to exhibit psychological issues as their male counterparts, a finding that may impact the country’s proposal to allow women to serve in front-line combat positions.
The report highlights statistics showing that seven of every thousand women in the military will become affected by a psychological concern requiring therapy or other forms of treatment, the same is true for only three of every thousand men. Yet representatives of related social welfare and mental health groups note that the data may be skewed, given that women tend to be more likely to report their concerns and to seek subsequent treatment, whereas many men may not reveal their inner turmoil or take advantage of available therapy and counseling programs.
Encouraging early reporting, accurate screening, and meaningful prevention of these issues in members of the armed forces, whether troops are male or female, will likely have a positive effect on the growing worry over mental stability and health in the military.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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