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Research funding available: Alcohol, substance abuse and addiction among UK ex-Service personnel

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), in collaboration with Centre for Mental Health and King’s Centre for Military Health Research, is inviting applications for funding under its first highlight notice, part of a five year multi-million pound Mental Health Research Programme which launched in October 2015 to encourage high quality research in the field of veterans’ and their families’ mental health.

The aim of this highlight notice is to encourage applications that propose innovative ways to understand and address substance abuse and addiction amongst UK ex-Service personnel. This includes alcohol, legal and illegal drug use, and the impact on former Armed Forces personnel and their families. The deadline for applications under this highlight notice is Friday 26 August 2016.

A FiMT-commissioned review of serving and ex-Service personnel’s mental health identified alcohol misuse as a key priority for veterans’ mental health, describing it as a ‘major public health issue’.  The review highlighted the need to address:

  • causes of alcohol use and misuse
  • the effectiveness of alcohol-related interventions
  • the relationship between alcohol consumption and other mental health conditions
  • issues of long term alcohol misuse and dependency
  • the lack of existing evidence on other types of substance misuse and addictive behaviours beyond alcohol including recreational drug use, self-medication, gambling, and misuse of prescription medicines or ‘body enhancement’ substances

The MHRP welcomes research proposals that address any of these aspects of substance misuse and addiction in relation to UK ex-Service personnel and their families.

FiMT’s MHRP plans its research priorities by taking into consideration other research taking place in this field, service deliverer feedback, and the view of users with lived experience of mental health issues, together with other contextual factors that are relevant to the Programme’s aims.

All funding opportunities relating to the MHRP can be found at this link: http://www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/funding/funding-opportunities/

– Ends –

Notes to Editors
For more information, please contact: Alex Goldup at The PR Office on agoldup@theproffice.com / direct dial: 0207 284 6941

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘The Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012. Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The aim of FiMT is to provide an evidence base which will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives.
  • FiMT awards grants (both reactive and proactive) and commissions research along three key themes: Evidence, Innovation and Collaboration. All work is published to a high standard of reportage to add to the evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made. Read more about those FiMT have helped and reports they have published at the links below:

Useful links

FiMT awards grant to Blesma for study into impact of traumatic amputation on families

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded a grant of £137,605 to Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, to carry out a two-year study into the impact of traumatic limb loss on the families of those who have been injured.

The research will explore the experiences of traumatic limb loss from the perspective of the veteran and their family unit, in order to provide insight into, and understanding of, their needs and how they experience, manage and adapt to living with limb loss.

Blesma has tasked the Veterans & Families Institute (VFI) at Anglia Ruskin University, led by Matt Fossey, Director of the Institute, and Dr Hilary Engward, a senior researcher, to conduct the research as experts in the field.

Matt said: “There is currently very little research into the impact of traumatic limb loss on families. We are delighted to be working with Blesma to understand more about how families are affected by these life-altering injuries. Furthermore in this important study we will also be looking at veterans whose injuries were not sustained in combat. This is important as this is a group often overlooked by the media.”

Blesma currently supports widows and surviving partners of Members (serving military personnel and veterans who have lost limb(s), the use of limbs or eyesight) and is now looking to extend that support to families, reflecting the new generation of younger amputees.

From their work directly supporting Members, Blesma Support Officers based across the UK became aware that the families of Members are also affected by the limb loss of their loved one. Blesma commissioned a literature review in 2014 conducted by Matt Fossey and Professor Jamie Hacker-Hughes of the VFI to consider the most relevant and up-to-date studies of the impact of traumatic limb loss on families.

The review concluded that there is no UK research exploring the impact on the families of veterans living with limb loss, so it was natural progression for Blesma to commission a study into the subject.

It is expected that the study will provide charities who work with amputees, statutory bodies delivering health and social care and other interested parties with credible information to assist with future decisions that affect the families of those living with limb loss.

Barry Le Grys MBE, Chief Executive of Blesma said: “Blesma has done comprehensive preparatory work in advance of this project and we know it is much needed.  We are most confident the findings will make a difference to not just the services offered to our Members but much more widely; we anticipate policy makers and service providers nationally will find the results significant.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This is an important study that will build on the work already completed by Blesma.  It will enable statutory providers and relevant charities, including Blesma, to be able to improve their support to ex-Service personnel and their families affected by limb loss. By better understanding the impact of traumatic limb loss, we will be contributing to the credible evidence base needed to ensure that policy-makers, commissioners and service deliverers can prioritise and direct resources to greatest effect.”

-ENDS-

Notes to Editor

For further information about the study, please go to: http://www.anglia.ac.uk/health-social-care-and-education/research/research-groups/veterans-and-families-institute or call Matt Fossey on 01245 684608.

About Blesma, The Limbless Veterans

Blesma, The Limbless Veterans is the national charity for all limbless serving and ex-service men and women, their widows and dependants.  It is a membership organisation which helps wounded service men and women rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. Their membership includes those who have lost the use of a limb, an eye or the sight of an eye.

Blesma was formed in the years following the First World War and became a national charity in 1932.  Blesma today has around 3,500 Members and widows. The membership consists of men and women who have served during the Second World War and the many subsequent conflicts and peacekeeping operations since, including the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @Blesma and Facebook /blesma

For further information on Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, contact

Bryony Stevens, mediasupport@blesma.org

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • Our Vision is that all ex-Service personnel and their families lead successful and fulfilled civilian lives. Our Mission is to enable them to make a successful and sustainable transition. Our Strategy is to use our spend-out endowment to fund targeted, conceptually sound, evidence generation and influence activities that will cause policy makers and service deliverers to support our Mission.
  • FiMT awards grants (both reactive and proactive) and commissions research along three key themes: Evidence, Innovation and Collaboration.  All work is published to a high standard of reportage to add to the evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.
  • Useful links

 

 

Meeting the mental and related health needs of veterans and families in Wales – new report

Wales has one of the UK’s leading services for meeting the mental health needs of veterans, but a new review  finds that more could be done to strengthen the national strategy in Wales to meet the needs of veterans and their family members.

Released today (Thursday 2 June 2016), the review entitled ‘Call to Mind: Wales’,  highlights that while much progress has been made in recent years in Wales with respect to meeting the mental and related health needs of veterans, further improvement is required.  Top priorities include increasing Veteran NHS Wales’ capacity, improving data to inform commissioning and service provision, improving mainstream services, and doing more to support families and carers.

The report is based on a series of stakeholder interviews in Wales with three groups: veterans and their families; statutory sector stakeholders; and those in the voluntary and independent sectors. Interviews were supplemented by a comprehensive review of key documents and engagement with fourteen voluntary sector organisations who work with veterans and their families in Wales.

The Wales review, part of a wider one-year review covering each of the devolved nations, was commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust and conducted by Community Innovations Enterprise to build on a similar and well-received review carried out in England in 2015.  The end result will be the first comprehensive assessment of how to meet the mental and related health needs for veterans and family members throughout the UK.

While recognizing the work already done in Wales to help this cohort, including the establishment of the only national veterans’ service in the UK, the report captures stakeholder views on further improvements required and identifies several opportunities that would help bring about such change, for example, through the Local Health Boards’ annually refreshed business plans. Suggested improvements include a need for:

  • Armed Forces Forums and Champions to work more effectively and consistently across Wales
  • A more strategic and coordinated approach to planning and commissioning across regions and sectors regarding veterans mental health, including urban and rural areas, and appropriate and timely responses to related health needs, such as physical health and dementia
  • Simple, clear, efficient and well-coordinated multi-agency assessment and referral pathways for complex psycho-social needs, particularly for high need groups such as Early Service Leavers, dual diagnosis patients, and veterans in the Criminal Justice System
  • Welsh policy-makers to ensure that veterans and family members’ mental and related health needs are considered in new legislation coming into force in Wales
  • Addressing barriers to veterans and families accessing GPs and other services and supporting veterans and families to be more willing to access mainstream services
  • Encouraging the cultural competence of mainstream services to ensure veterans’ needs are met on a sustainable basis, and addressing the needs of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while recognizing the differing needs of those with common mental health problems
  • Improved data use and capture to inform long-term local level planning and commissioning
  • More evidence around the needs of, and access to information and services for, the practical, emotional and support needs of families of veterans with mental health problems
  • ‘Capacity-building’ families so they have the resilience and knowledge to identify, support and sustain the recovery of veteran-family members

The overall aim of the project is to help health service commissioners and service providers determine the most effective ways to assess the mental and related health needs of veterans and their families and to support the development of appropriate services to meet their needs, ensuring that valuable resources are spent wisely.

Writing in the foreword to the report, Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Cross Party Group for the Armed Forces and Cadets (4th Assembly), comments:  “This is a very important time of change in Wales with the advent of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) and Wellbeing of Future Generations Acts, both of which have important implications for continuing to meet the needs of veterans and their families.”

“The Call to Mind: Wales report is very timely in this respect and provides a sound assessment of the issues, our progress to date and where we need to be moving forward to ensure that any veteran and their family receive the best care at the earliest opportunity.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says: “Our serving men and women, and the families who support them, deserve consistent and effective support. Unfortunately, mental health is an area where there continues to be a lot of stigma and, as this report shows, it is incumbent on commissioners, providers and practitioners to work together to ensure that needs are adequately assessed, and that money is spent and targeted wisely to effect sufficient service provision to meet those needs. This report provides real insight and evidence that make a valuable contribution in helping us to achieve better support for veterans and their family members across Wales.”

Dr Jon Bashford, who led the research for Community Innovations Enterprise, says: “Wales has an excellent national service model for helping veterans with mental health problems and there is much that can learnt from this for the UK as a whole. There are also new opportunities in Wales to strengthen this model and in particular to provide more help for the families of veterans who themselves may have mental health problems but who are also a key support for veterans.”

Download the report in English here and Welsh here.

ENDS

Ray Lock and Dr Jon Bashford are available for interview.  To arrange, or for a copy of the full report, please contact Alex Goldup at The PR Office on agoldup@theproffice.com / mobile:  07791 765 915/ direct dial: 020 7284 6941.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The aim of the FiMT is to provide an evidence base which will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives.
  • FiMT awards grants (both reactive and proactive) and commissions research along three key themes: Evidence, Innovation and Collaboration.  All work is published to a high standard of reportage to add to the evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made. Read more about those FiMT have helped and reports they have published at the links below: