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Occupational Medicine
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 59  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 459 - 465

Occupational outcomes in soldiers hospitalized with mental health problems

N Jones, N. T Fear, N Greenberg, L Hull and S. Wessely    

Abstract:

Background Little is known about the longer term occupational outcome in UK military personnel who require hospital-based treatment for mental health problems.

Aims To examine the documented occupational outcomes following hospital-based treatment for mental health problems within the British Army.

Methods Hospital admission records were linked to occupational outcome data from a database used for personnel administration.

Results A total of 384 records were identified that were then linked to occupational outcome after an episode of hospitalization. Seventy-four per cent of those admitted to hospital with mental health problems were discharged from the Army prematurely, and 73% of the discharges occurred in the first year following hospitalization. Discharge from the Army was associated with holding a junior rank, completing <5 years military service, having a combat role, being male and receiving community mental health team treatment prior to admission.

Conclusions Hospitalization for a mental health problem in a military context is associated with a low rate of retention in service. Outcome was not influenced greatly by duration of hospital stay; however, those who reported receiving individual rather than group-based therapy while in hospital appeared to do better.

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