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Thinking about the role of psychologists in helping the Armed Forces community

23 June 2017

Saturday 24 June is Armed Forces Day. Events will be taking place across the country to show support for the men and women who make up the Forces.

The wellbeing of this community, which is made up of currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets, is a concern of psychologists, and their understanding of its particular needs is continuing to develop.

As our former President Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, who was himself an Army officer, says:

"There are a number of roles for psychologists within the Armed Forces including uniformed roles in the Army for clinical psychologists, non-uniformed roles for clinical, counselling, health, forensic and neuropsychologists in Defence Healthcare and many other roles in all three services and in the Ministry of Defence for occupational psychologists working in such areas as personnel selection, training, air accident investigation and many others.

Post-traumatic stress disorders have been well covered in the media and have been the subject of significant research. But some psychological problems have been badly overlooked: the pressures on veterans’ families, the impact of military service on their children, the impact on sex and relationships, not to mention the risks for early service leavers of increased substance misuse – and not just alcohol.”

Professor Hacker Hughes is the editor of Military Veteran Psychological Health and Social Care: Contemporary Issues, which looks at such problems and has recently been published by Routledge.

You can read more about psychologists’ work with the military community in our monthly magazine The Psychologist.

Captain Duncan Precious has written about being the first clinical psychologist in uniform, while Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes was interviewed by the editor when he was Society President.


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