The NATO Human Factors and Medicine Panel (HFM081) Research Task Group (RTG) 020 provides military mental health professionals from 19 nations with an opportunity to work together to develop and exchange information related to guidelines for military leaders on stress and psychological support in order to enhance effectiveness in modern military operations. The RTG, initially organized in 2002, was approved for full status in 2003. Bi-annual meetings facilitate the work of the RTG members and have resulted in the completion of reports on best practices, unit climate assessments, clinical tools, education and training requirements for military mental health professionals and education and training for military members on mental health issues. The RTG has also produced a draft series of guidelines for mental health support before, during and after military operations, which is currently under review by operational commanders and military mental health professionals in each participating nation. By 2006, the RTG's goal is to complete a Military Leaders' Survey on perceived mental health training and support needs across the deployment cycle and to conduct a NATO HFM (Human Factors and Medicine) symposium. Information from feedback on the draft report, the survey and symposium will be integrated into a final series of guidelines, also to be promoted as a lecture series, which can be adapted for use as a NATO standard for mental health support on modern military operations.
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