Alcohol use of UK military personnel during active service and on return to civilian life: veterans’ experiences
evidence and practice    

Alcohol use of UK military personnel during active service and on return to civilian life: veterans’ experiences

Catherine Hayes Professor, health professions pedagogy and scholarship, Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, England
Kate Bell Postgraduate researcher, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, England
Yitka Graham Senior lecturer, NHS and Health Services Engagement, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, England

Background In the UK, the prevalence of alcohol-related dependence is significantly higher in people in the armed forces than in the general population.

Aim To explore the experiences of alcohol use by former military personnel with a record of active service.

Method An interpretivist approach was used to provide an insight into the lives of eight military personnel who had returned to civilian life. They were interviewed by a researcher over the internet, interviews were transcribed verbatim and data analysed.

Findings Five themes emerged from the data: cultural normalisation, enculturation in military life, integrated mental health, integration and post-military life. Findings were consistent with the published literature exploring increased predisposition to mental health problems by male veterans of lower rank compared with higher rank counterparts.

Conclusion On leaving active service, military veterans ought to be provided with greater and ongoing support with any mental health issues they may experience because of their military service.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1429

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

catherine.hayes@sunderland.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Hayes C, Bell K, Graham Y (2019) Alcohol use of UK military personnel during active service and on return to civilian life: veterans’ experiences. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1429

Published online: 03 December 2019