Mental Health

Military Mental Health Awareness Push Sees Senior Figures Open Up

The Armed Forces Mental Health Champion says a social media drive is right to promote "vulnerability in leadership".

Efforts to combat mental health issues in the military have been backed by senior officials telling their own stories of personal "burnout".

Armed Forces Mental Health Champion, Warrant Officer Class One Glenn Haughton, spoke to Forces News after the British Army posted a social video of another senior officer opening up on his own experiences.

"I think it’s really encouraging to see what I would call vulnerability in leadership," said WO1 Haughton, after General Sir Patrick Sanders took part in Time to Talk Day on 4 Feb.

Other high-ranking personnel have also joined the conversation, hoping the wider military community is able to adopt the same approach.

Opening up on a previous forces role, WO1 Haughton said: "Due to a number of things – working too hard, drinking too much alcohol, too much travel, abuse on social media, a lot of pressure from the job and working myself too hard – I essentially suffered from stress, anxiety and depression and had a burnout."

A push for mental health awareness in the military is is reaching beyond the rank system (Picture: Royal Navy).

Research shows military personnel suffer the same mental health issues as the general population, with cases of anxiety, depression and alcohol misuse the most common.

HeadFIT, a platform designed for the defence community, now offers access to self-help tools to enhance mood and help people destress.

From April, there will be compulsory mental health fitness training for everyone in the Armed Forces.

WO1 Haughton said the military has to keep up such efforts and make mental health conversation part of everyday life, recognising the amount of progress made "considering we had nothing 33 years ago".