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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 12 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what evidence he has evaluated on the efficacy of decompression in the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder; (233043)

(2) what feedback he has gathered from participants in decompression on its merits.

The decompression process is designed to be a brief ‘wind-down’ period for troops returning from operational theatres, and is aimed at facilitating the adjustment from the operational to the UK environment. It is not intended that it should play a major role in the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a chronic disabling illness distinct to the more short-term adjustment issues that we can expect individuals to encounter in making the change from the operational to the home/family/non-operational environment.

However, if during the process an individual demonstrates any indicators of possible mental health problems, then appropriate follow-up action will be taken.

The King’s Centre for Military Health Research is currently undertaking research into the merits of decompression, the results of which will be published on completion.