A review of United Kingdom Armed Forces' approaches to prevent post-deployment mental health problems

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;23(2):135-43. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2010.557770.


There is now an abundance of research which has demonstrated that military personnel who deploy on operations are at increased risk of suffering a variety of mental health difficulties in the immediate and long-term post-deployment period. One consequence of these research findings has been the development of a variety of programmes which attempt to mitigate the increased psychological risk and to assist personnel who are returning from a deployment to make a smooth transition home. Using a three-tiered prevention model, this article reviews some of the key post-deployment issues facing the UK Armed Forces and highlights the recent interventions which have been put in place to promote successful adjustment in the early post-deployment period. The paper is based upon research identified through a thorough literature search for studies which focused on this area and included a recognized measure of mental health as an outcome. The paper focuses on three main areas; psychological decompression, psycho-education and screening. The current philosophical approaches to post-deployment mental health problems of some of the UK's coalition partners are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Mental Health*
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology