I am planning to start the application process to join up but I have a few concerns over my past medical issues.
About 5 years ago I lost 5 members of my family to suicide over a period of about 12 months. As you can imagine this left me with a lot of anger and other emotions. My doctor diagnosed me with anxiety and depression and signed me off work for a few months. I did cbt therapy and eventually returned to work but I continued to take the medication up until last year. I've been free of any symptoms of depression for about a year but i was on the meds for over 3 years and I'm now worried this will impact my application.
Is it a deal breaker? I have always wanted to join the Navy since I was a little cadet but I was offered a good job out of uni so i kept putting it off. Being 28 now, I don't want to waste time messing around, I just want to get started and do the thing I wish i had done years ago

Any help/sarcastic remarks are greatly appreciated


War Hero
Your first stop for this kind of information is your Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO). We are an unofficial website, and although we have members with a wide range of naval backgrounds, we currently don't have a recruiter or Naval doctor on here. @Ninja_Stoker used to be a naval recruiter, but is now in a new role and not often here. My other oppo, @soleil, may be able to provide some more information, but, in all seriousness, you should regard the AFCO as your first port of call.

I was a reservist for over 20 years and don't have any detailed knowledge of the process for joining today's Navy - it was all simpler in my day and everything was done in-house. First stage medical matters are now dealt with by Capita.


War Hero
I feel for you, Hurricane91, that is the most awful thing to have gone through. It's a credit to you that you were able to get through such a difficult time.

I think that what I would suggest would be the best thing for you would be for you to engage with the online application process sooner rather than later. I know that you have mentioned getting time off to go into town to the AFCO, but I'm worried that you might not get the outcome you are hoping for; I know that the CAs would want to do their best for you, but the current guidance for Careers Advisors is as follows:

Medical Eligibility

a. ACTION: AFCO. Careers Advisers may offer advice to candidates of medical ‘conditions’ that may bar them from entry and explain the entry standards using the CNR SEMC as a point of reference and, if necessary, to provide advice to candidates.

Candidates declaring a barring condition should strongly be advised that they may be ineligible to apply. It is important that the medical requirement is explained and conveyed as sympathetically as possible. A qualified CA or the ACLO must give this advice. CNR SEMC is the point of contact for additional information regarding the current standards for Service entry.

b. ACTION: CAREERS STAFF. Careers Staff must not offer medical advice or be drawn into conversation relating to specific medical conditions. Candidates who request advice on medical conditions should be advised to reference the entry standards, their details passed to the SEMC for call back or contact their GP.

The decision made on your medical eligibility won't be made by the Careers Advisors, it will be made by qualified medical staff, which is as it should be.

I wish that it were possible to give you a definitive answer as to what will happen ultimately in your case, but I think that even someone medically qualified would be reluctant to offer an opinion at this stage. It would be easier for someone to advise you if you were affected by one of the illnesses which would be a bar; I'm trying to think of a good example, for some reason Creutzfeldt – Jakob Disease occurs to me, that would be a bar, or say, if you had lost an arm in an industrial accident, that would be too.

I wouldn't want you to take the following as gospel and I'm saying this informally, but what I would say is that I think that your case will go for referral for a decision by the Senior Medical Officer (Service Entry) (SMO(SE)). I see that you say "I don't want to waste time messing around, I just want to get started"; the best piece of advice I think I would give you is that you should take on board the very likely possibility that you will go for review and that you will need to be patient. The decision will be made by qualified people who have access to every tiny bit of information which is relevant to your case, including information from your GP and it is only at that point that your situation will be clear (it seems to me).

I would say that, in the Joint Service Manual of Medical Fitness, it does say "It is important to differentiate between conditions representing understandable emotional and behavioural responses to significant life events (eg parental divorce, bereavement) and those disorders with a hereditary or complex aetiology. Whilst the former may settle within acceptable time frames and with no psychiatric input, the latter are more likely to have a significant effect on function and greater risk of relapse".

I wish that I could write a post which was straight down the line and gave you a definitive answer; I can't, but I have tried to say the most helpful thing I can.

I wouldn't spend a lot of time fretting about this at the moment, because you will just end up winding yourself up and trying to second-guess the situation, which won't help.

I do think that your case is one which will go for review and that you will need to be patient, but I would tell yourself that this is a bridge you will cross when it comes.

I wouldn't go into town to see the CAs at this point, because of the observations I have already made, but what I would encourage you to do now is to engage with the very earliest stages of the application process. Have a look at the role finder on the RN website and pick one for which you are eligible and which appeals to you and then click on "Register Your Interest", which will trigger the very earliest stage of an application.

I hope that this has been helpful in some way. What I am trying to say is that these tricky medical decisions are very much the province of SMO(SE) and so your best bet is to set off through the application process now and deal with the medical element when it presents itself. You will find it easier to do that; don't fret about what will happen, just set off along the road and find out.

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Thanks so much Sol, Loads of useful info there mate!!
I'm going to start the application in the morning then so i can get the ball rolling... I'll just have to see the extra bit of time as extra fitness training time rather than waiting around time