How can the war in Ukraine impact on veterans' mental health?

Symptoms can be triggered by events seen and heard on the news, a chief psychiatrist says.

A leading figure in mental health has spoken to Forces News about the psychological impact of the Ukraine crisis on some former personnel.

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said some veterans who have experienced mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder "as a result of their service" may be adversely affected by the events.

"You might find that the symptoms that you had before might be triggered again. So you might get flashbacks to your service and traumatic events," he said.

Ex-personnel may find they "startle more easily" when hearing sounds or seeing images forming the coverage of the Russian invasion on TV and radio, and can become hyper-vigilant, anxious or depressed, he added.

Help can be sought through a GP or through Op Courage (the NHS specialist service for veterans' mental health), and Dr James is encouraging those experiencing increased difficulty to step forward.

If you or someone you know needs support at this time, you can find more information here.

Cover image: Kyiv in February (Ukrinform/Alamy Live News).