The Don’t Bottle It Up campaign was launched last year and is the Army’s first ever campaign to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Lieutenant Colonel Tony Rock from the Army’s Health Promotion Team said:
There is a common misconception that mental health problems in the Army all relate to PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], but that is a very small percentage of the reported mental health complaints.
The first phase of the campaign last year was very much about trying to break the stigma around combat stress, which we will continue to do, but in phase two we also want to bring awareness to the occupational and emotional factors that cause stress and can lead to depression.
Hopefully, by making people aware of how normal it is for these factors to affect their mental health, we can break down the stigma associated with it.
Adjustment disorders and concerns over money and employment, as well as troubles at home, are some of the biggest contributors to anxiety-related mental health disorders, yet there is still a self-imposed cloud of shame around admitting the problem. Lieutenant Colonel Rock continued:
Soldiers still consider a mental health problem a sign of weakness, which it isn’t. Being affected by a traumatic event or personal concern is a natural reaction to an unnatural situation.
“That’s not a weakness, but you do need to treat it so it doesn’t become worse. Mental health is like any illness, you need to treat it.”
Phase two of the Don’t Bottle It Up mental health stigma campaign was launched on 6 June with a new page on the Army website (see Related Links) offering help and advice to soldiers and family members.
The site will be updated regularly with case studies and personal experiences of soldiers and officers all trying to break down the stigma associated with mental health so others don’t suffer in the same way.