Accepted paper:

Towards a social ecology of post-war mental health problems

Authors:

Alexander Edmonds (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the different meanings attributed to military related mental health problems in different institutional environments in the UK.

Paper long abstract:

Soldiers experience many kinds of mobilities, such as coming home from war, transitioning to civilian life, or moving from national service into private security. These movements in place may bring problems in adjusting or mental health problems. They may also, though, entail new assessments and responses to such problems. For example, PTSD might be seen as an honorable badge of combat, grounds for financial compensation, a "medicalizing" description that prevents the return to duty, shirking, or something else again. This paper draws on ethnographic research in the UK with a wide range of people who work on military-related mental and social health problems. Research participants included: soldiers and veterans, their family members, health care providers, veterans' charities, and military managers. It argues that while the diagnosis of PTSD is made by clinicians according to precisely defined criteria, the recognition of legitimate war-related mental health suffering is a fiercely contested process shaped by military, medical and wider social environments.

panel P150
To the "front" and back "home" again: military mobilities and the social transitions they entail