Many veterans coping with combat-post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) refrain from seeking psychological treatment. We explored the nature of illness recognition and treatment utilisation in two different cultural groups of Israeli veterans-Bedouin and Jewish. Using qualitative research methods, we interviewed twenty veterans dealing with PTSD (ten Bedouin and ten Jewish) and ten mental health professionals. Participants shared their experiences of symptoms, the ways they coped, and their perception of the costs and benefits of psychological treatment. Two main themes emerged: (i) 'Veterans' Perceptions of Their Mental Injury'. In stark contrast to their Jewish counterparts, Bedouin participants described extreme lack of understanding regarding the relationship between their exposure to combat trauma and their distress; (ii) 'Veterans' Perceptions of the Mental Health Services'. Bedouin veterans expressed fear of the stigma associated with PTSD and its detrimental social implications, for them and their families. Jewish veterans emphasised the beneficial and informative role of therapy. The findings underscore the impact of different cultural codes on help-seeking behaviours and on the ability to benefit from psychological treatment. It is recommended that mental health practitioners consider cultural backgrounds and individual differences when implementing trauma interventions, to fine-tune their suitability to veterans facing excessive barriers to care.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a research scholarship from the Centre of Training and Research of Resilience and Coping with Trauma, Sapir College, Israel.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
- Qualitative research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)