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Journal of General Practice Nursing (GPN) | March 2021

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Screening military veterans for anxiety and depression in primary care

Screening military veterans for anxiety and depression in primary care
Health promotion

Pages: 61 - 64

Article topics: Anxiety, Depression, Emotional health checks, Military veterans, Screening

In primary care, there is a lack of understanding and awareness among some clinicians regarding mental health issues that military veterans experience. The aim of the project outlined here was to identify military veterans in one primary care centre, screen them for anxiety and depression, and offer them the most appropriate treatment and support. An emotional health check template was used to identify military veterans for anxiety and depression. Training was also offered to staff in the practice and appropriate services were identified and listed on a leaflet. By the end of the project, the number of military veterans identified in the practice had increased from 19 to 200, 45 with a diagnosis of depression and five with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Only four veterans were offered emotional health checks during the project period due to restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. This article shows how the process of identifying military veterans and developing a system of screening for depression and anxiety as well as introducing new staff training has been effective. Adding missing elements to the template will improve follow-up and evaluation in the future.

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