The large majority of military members maintain their mental wellness over the course of their military career, however there is a proportion of members for whom subthreshold symptoms will emerge. These symptoms, whilst not meeting formal diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder, can still cause functional impairment for the individual. We know from previous research that these symptoms can emerge as early as within a couple of years of joining the military, to as late as at the transition point after a long career.
The WATCH Project is about understanding how subthreshold symptoms present and whether these presentations are being recognised. It is about finding ways to better manage and support ADF members experiencing changes in their mental health. Better management of these changes in mental health can contribute to a reduction in the impact of disorder and improved outcomes in work, home and social life.
This project is the first to use a qualitative methodology to talk to current serving military members, their families, their health service providers and their leaders about the early identification of mental health symptoms.
The data collection phase of this project is now complete and the research team are synthesising the findings. For information about this project, or to speak with the research team, you can email Phoenix-Research@unimelb.edu.au