Minimising risk, recognising onset
While no system can ever guarantee to detect every individual at risk of mental illness, the following measures are in place to reduce risk and increase awareness at all levels:
- Personnel receive training and briefings to increase their awareness of mental health issues and stress management. This takes place throughout a career, but particularly prior to and after deployment on operations.
- All Medical Officers, Combat Medical Assistants and Nurses are trained to recognise the signs of mental illness, and Officers, Junior and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (JNCO/SNCOs) are routinely trained in methods of suicide prevention and stress management.
- "Decompression" is provided. This is a scheduled period following a deployment on operations in which personnel are given time to mentally and physically unwind, with time to talk to colleagues and superiors - with whom they deployed - about their experiences.
- Families of returning personnel are offered presentations and issued with leaflets to educate them about the possible after-effects of a a deployment on operations. Welfare Officers, Padres and other associated organisations also provide information to families by email, through support groups, Regimental systems and so on.
- Increasing use is made of Trauma Risk Management (TRiM), a model of peer-group mentoring and support for use in the aftermath of traumatic events.