Defence Select Committee Armed Forces and veterans’ mental health hearing: Should the MOD do more to provide for veterans’ mental health?

The thrust of the Defence Select Committee hearing on Armed Forces and veterans' mental health on 12 January seemed to be that if Armed Forces personnel and veterans develop psychological injuries having been put in ‘harm’s way’ by the politicians that send them, then it is for the Armed Forces health providers (under the Defence and National Rehab Centre) to offer and coordinate help, not to leave it to an overstretched NHS and underfunded and complex weave of state and charity provision. This is particularly the case when charity incomes are dwindling (hence services threatened) and the NHS is leading the fight against the effects of COVID, and strengthened by research that indicates veterans seek to be treated within a system that understands them, their injuries, and the circumstances that cause them. Thoughts?

Getting military-to-civilian transition right: What’s good for Scotland is good for the UK

I recently came across the Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s ‘strategic overview of transition from the Armed Forces’. Published in late 2020, it post-dates the UK Government’s ‘Strategy for Our Veterans’ by over two years. Not surprisingly then, it offers a more nuanced insight into many of the challenges faced by veterans undergoing transition from a career in the Armed Forces.

What makes leaving the armed forces different?

The military is often described as a 'self-contained social world'. It often implies a professional commitment far in excess of the traditional eight hours a day and five days a week, and usually involves toiling, sleeping and socialising with the same people – often in relative geographic isolation, during lengthy deployments, sometimes at short notice and habitually in extreme environments. With its ‘different ways of communicating and relating to others, different living arrangements, [...] and different standards of behaviour, dress, and bodily comportment’, it is often described as more of a life than a job.

Critically engaging stories of military-civilian transition

Excellent piece by Nick Caddick and Sarah Bulmer.

War Stories

In the first post to this new War Stories blog, we reflect on current stories about veterans in ‘transition’ and why these stories matter. Transition is the term which is used – usually uncritically and straightforwardly – to refer to the process by which military service members leave the armed forces and re-enter civilian life. As we set out below, there are numerous social narratives that compete to claim the ‘truth’ about veterans’ transition and these narratives reflect assumptions about military and civilian life (Caddick & Smith, 2017). Our intention is therefore to sketch out, briefly, what is at stake in the various truth claims put forward in these different narratives, as well as to question what the discourse of ‘transition’ itself enables us to see and what it might exclude.

In the UK, there is a dominant narrative – dominant, in the sense that is has the weight…

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