At initial (basic) training recruits from all services and most nations are subject to an intense environment where they are physically and mentally challenged throughout their waking day. Their civilian experiences and identity are systematically remodeled to fit the requirements of the nation’s services. Most recruits are able to cope with this extreme environment, albeit with some impact on their mental wellbeing, whereas those unable to cope either physically or emotionally are discharged from the Military through medical or administrative procedures. The recruit training environment is characterized by being totally controlled by another person (instructor) where they must succeed (perform) and conform to the service requirements or suffer formal and informal punishments. It is contended that this form of totally controlled environment impacts on the recruit’s mental wellbeing. Its effects either manifest immediately at a significant level, necessitating discharge, or occur at a lower level enabling service personnel to remain effective whilst staying in the Military; in some cases, not manifesting until they face the rigours of operational service. Operational service, be it war-like or peacekeeping, is an extremely stressful environment that can trigger latent mental health challenges or create new challenges, including but not limited to, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Negative mental health resulting from Military service can led to self-isolation and marital discord resulting in some instances to homelessness or at worst suicide. It is incumbent on the Military to investigate the manner in which recruit training is conducted, and to determine if changes could reduce the predisposition to negative mental health consequences, both from recruit training and subsequent military service.