Armed forces personnel who leave service early are at the greatest risk of developing mental health problems, according to a new study.
Researchers at Glasgow University found people who left earliest were at a higher risk of developing issues than those who had served for at least four years.
The early leavers, including members who left before completing training, had a 50% higher risk than people who did not serve.
However, mental health risks in veterans who had served for at least four years were the same as civilians, while people with the longest service were 40% less likely to suffer.
The researchers used data from the Scottish Veterans Health Study to examine rates of hospital admission and day care for mental health disorders.
Lead researcher Dr Beverly Bergman said: "This is an important study which has confirmed that although there was an increased risk of developing mental illness in military veterans, it was highest in people who left before they finished their initial military training.”
"In this study, longer service, which often means more deployments, was associated with better mental health in most veterans."
The study was published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.