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Stigma and mental health in the Royal Navy: A mixed methods paper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8 - 16
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number1
PublishedFeb 2010

King's Authors


Background: US research suggests that military personnel suffering from mental health problems are reluctant to seek help because of stigma. Aims: First, to identify the prevalence of mental health stigma beliefs in a UK military sample. Second, to investigate whether distressed personnel report more stigma than those who are not distressed. Method: A survey of 1599 naval personnel was undertaken as part of a larger trial prior to examining the effectiveness of a novel trauma support program. Results: The presence of internal stigma was substantial and significantly higher for distressed personnel. The prevalence of stigma about other people's mental health problems was low. Junior personnel reported being more uncomfortable in discussing emotional issues with their peer group than senior staff. Conclusions: Internal stigma remains a significant barrier to help seeking within the Royal Navy, especially for distressed personnel. This may be especially problematic for junior personnel who are known to be particularly vulnerable to developing mental health problems.

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