Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: UK armed forces personnel are at risk of occupational psychological injury; they are often reluctant to seek help for such problems. Objective: We aimed to examine and describe sources of support, prevalence and associates of help-seeking among UK serving and ex-serving personnel. Method: A total of 1450 participants who self-reported a stress, emotional or mental health problem in the past 3 years were sampled from a health and wellbeing study and subsequently completed a telephone interview comprising measures of mental disorder symptoms, alcohol misuse and help-seeking behaviour. Results: Seven per cent of participants had not sought any help, 55% had accessed medical sources of support (general practitioner or mental health specialist), 46% had received formal non-medical (welfare) support and 86% had used informal support. Gender, age, perceived health, functional impairment, social support, deployment, alcohol and comorbidity impacted upon the choice of help source. Conclusions: This study found that the majority of those with perceived mental health problems sought some form of help, with over half using formal medical sources of support.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Psychotraumatol

Publication Date





Alcohol misuse, depression, help-seeking, military personnel, post-traumatic stress disorder, quantitative methods, veteran, • In contrast to previous studies of help-seeking in serving and ex-serving personnel, and the public perception, this study found that the majority of those with perceived mental health problems sought some form of help.• Over half used formal medical sources of support.• Younger males who reported lower levels of social support were less likely to seek support.