Having a family member – such as a spouse, son or daughter – who is serving or who has served can also be very stressful. Long periods of separation, during which the family member may be deployed to a conflict zone, can lead to isolation, anxiety and depression. If that family member is seriously injured, they may end up becoming a full time carer, which brings its own stresses and strains.
Research indicates that certain sections of the Armed Forces Community may be at a higher risk than the general population of mental health problems.
A study of UK Service personnel returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan found that Reservists were twice as likely to experience mental health problems than colleagues who were not deployed. The same research found alcohol misuse to be a significant problem within the Armed Forces as a whole, and research by Manchester University found that the risk of suicide among early Service leavers aged 20-24 years and 20 years and below was two to three times higher than the same age groups in the general population.