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War good for mental health: official

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Wednesday, 1 June 2005

"War! (Uh huh, yeah!) What is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'!" go the lyrics of the famous song. Well, it turns out that it could be good for your mental health, actually.

There are always lots of theories about activities that are good for people with mental health problems. A couple of days ago it was gardening; a few months back it was exercise. But never mind all that, because following research with servicemen and women who had just returned from Iraq, a team from Kings College London has announced that going to war is not necessarily bad for a soldier's mental health. In fact - get this! - in some cases, they found a significant improvement in soldiers' psychological well-being following a spell on the frontline.

Crippled Monkey says: got mental health problems? Well, chuck away your spade and your pedometer, and get yourself off to a good war somewhere. Alternatively, a safer option might be to just rent out a load of military movies on DVD. I recommend Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now and A Bridge Too Far. You know it makes sense.


  • 1.
  • At 12:00 AM on 01 Jun 2005, Helen wrote:

I would like to question how many of the long term effects they have studied in the veterans from the 1991 gulf war, the falklands etc. I have seen negative, though undiagnosed or treated, mental health decline in family members in the forces. Thankfully their mental health improved. Also they should bear in mind the family members of soldiers, I can assure you war is not good for our peace of mind and continuing good mental health!

  • 2.
  • At 12:00 AM on 02 Jun 2005, Liz wrote:

Er, have they looked at the suicide rate for returned veterans, or the figures on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or checked out Gulf War syndrome, or - the list goes on. You've got to wonder who funded this particular bit of research and what the starting hypothesis was. My guess is that it's propaganda at its worst.

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