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Don't Bottle It Up

The mental health and wellbeing of Service personnel, whether Regulars or Reservists, their families and veterans is a priority for the Government. If you are in urgent need of mental health support or advice for you or a family member please see the Mental Health Support and Contact Details panel at the bottom of the page.

Don't bottle it up - Mental health stigma campaign

Stress management is now embedded through the chain of command, and mental health awareness is a training and leadership issue in today’s Armed Forces.

We are making a concerted effort to de-stigmatise issues around mental health and promote awareness of the professional medical care and support available

What is Stigma?

The biggest obstacle facing those with a mental illness is Stigma. Stigma is a mind-set that disadvantages an individual and justifies their exclusion from normal life. A mental health problem can be made worse when it is accompanied by misunderstanding, rejection, and ridicule.

Stigma prevents many people from seeking help resulting in a worsening of the symptoms of mental illness to a point where significant damage is caused to their health, wellbeing and relationships.

Reducing stigma and barriers to care

The perceived stigma associated with mental health conditions in the Armed Forces reflects those of the general public. Overall, research indicates that the Armed Forces has no more of a problem with mental health issues than society as a whole. However, particular groups within the Armed Forces may be more vulnerable to certain disorders and the MOD continues to fund research to study the mental health of both serving personnel and veterans.

The biggest barrier to progress in early diagnosis and receiving appropriate and effective treatment of mental health problems is the long-standing problem associated with seeking help. The greatest concern is how they feel others may perceive them. Unlike the response provided to those displaying physical injuries, a person may appear perfectly fine, leading others to have a less sympathetic response.

The influence of stigma can be so significant that many will choose to endure the impacts of mental health conditions – even when they know they can be relieved or cured with treatment – rather than risk making others aware of what they fear will be perceived as a flaw or weakness. In many ways the stigma associated with mental health problems is actually more disabling than the condition itself.

The launch of the second phase of the “Don’t Bottle It Up” campaign is aimed at continuing the efforts to break down the stigma associated with Mental Health issues and to encourage service personnel to seek help (earlier) whilst signposting the support and services available.

Who helps who?

If you are in need of mental health support or advice for you or a family member, find the contact details of the people and organisations who are available to help.

Army Chaplains