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Title: Exploring the experiences that helped UK military personnel with mental health difficulties engage in help seeking behaviour
Author: Murphy, Dominic
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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Previous research has demonstrated that only a minority of UK service personnel who experience mental illness engage in help seeking behaviours. Within this population there is compelling evidence that individuals who do not seek help are at increased risk of social exclusion. To date, research has been limited to either describing the barriers to accessing mental health services that are perceived to exist by members of the wider military population, or introducing interventions to address these barriers. However, only modest gains have been noted in the numbers seeking help. The aim of the current study was to understand the experiences that facilitated UK service personnel who had experienced mental illness to engage in help seeking behaviours, or which factors helped them overcome common barriers. This study was set within the UK Armed Forces and recruited participants from service personnel who had been diagnosed with either PTSD or depression and were attending the Defence Mental Health Services. The study employed a qualitative design, used semi-structured interview schedules to collect data, and explored this data using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Eight participants were recruited to the sample. From their data five themes emerged about how participants were able to access help. These were: how they reached a crisis point before accepting the need for help, how they overcame feelings of shame, the importance of having an internal locus of control, finding a psychological explanation for their symptoms and having strong social support. This study suggests that there are three areas that supported individuals to seek help. These were factors that helped individuals recognise they were experiencing psychological difficulties, factors that help normalise their symptoms and factors that increased their sense of having an internal locus of control.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available