latest news

Focus Group helps shape Forces in Mind Trust’s Mental Health Research Programme

A consultative Focus Group for UK ex-Service personnel and their families with lived experience of mental health issues took place on Tuesday 27th September in Central London. The Focus Group’s purpose was to help shape Forces in Mind Trust’s (FiMT) future research into the mental health-related needs amongst the ex-Service community.

Participants were asked to express their views on the research priorities, focus and desired outcomes of FiMT’s Mental Health Research Programme (MHRP), a 5-year multi-million pound programme with an annual disbursement of £1 million that aims to encourage high-quality research in the field of veterans’ and their families’ mental health.  The event, which allowed an open forum for input from the wider veteran community, was run by Dr Jane Rowley, a previous Specialist FiMT Fellow on the Clore Social Leadership Programme (2015), and was facilitated by Harry Palmer, MHRP Coordinator.

The Focus Group created a space for frank discussion on topics such as access to care, family support and stigmatization, as well as alcohol and substance abuse. These topic discussions were supported by group tasks to identify the research priority areas that participants felt were most important and as such should be included in the MHRP. The event concluded with each participant highlighting what they believed to be the single most important research priority for the next 12 months.

Focus Group feedback will now be used to help inform the MHRP’s first annual research priority review, which is due to take place in October, one year after the Programme was formally launched. The participant responses further enrich the findings of an online survey which was run earlier this year where over 100 individuals from across academia, service delivery, and the ex-Service Community who had an interest in this field, provided views on what the MHRP’s research priorities should be in the coming year.

The MHRP itself is run by FiMT in collaboration with the Centre for Mental Health and the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, part of King’s College London. For more information on the Programme, please visit http://www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme

The Forces in Mind Trust, established in 2012 to help ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful transition back to civilian life, has as one of its founding priorities the aim ‘to promote better mental health and well-being’ and ‘to build organisations’ capacity to deliver evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation’. Since 2012, FiMT has worked hard to develop an understanding of the mental health environment, and to identify where the Trust can best deploy its finite resources to maximum effect, ultimately to help inform and influence policy makers and service deliverers in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead more successful and fulfilling civilian lives.

Dr Jane Rowley said: “The contributions were helpful and the lived experiences discussions were revealing. I hope that these consultations will go a long way to informing the MHRP priorities over the next twelve months.  I very much appreciated the opportunity to facilitate a focus group with people who have lived experience of Mental Health issues and are dedicated to providing insight into the MHRP / FiMT research priorities review. It is refreshing to work with organisations like FiMT that are dedicated to consulting all stakeholders and developing a focused evidence base for ex-Service personnel.”

– Ends –

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.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.
  • All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

 

 

The Forces in Mind Trust awards £110,000 to The Futures Company and £60,000 to Arkenford to commission a new 2017 Transition Mapping Study

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded 2 separate awards linked to commissioning a new 2017 Transition Mapping Study: Firstly, FiMT has awarded £110,000 to The Futures Company and secondly, £60,000 to Arkenford.

The 2013 Transition Mapping Study, which was conducted by The Futures Company, reviewed the entire transition process from military to civilian life and how it was viewed by stakeholders and Service leavers.   Three years since this report was published, FiMT are keen to understand how and where this process has changed.  The award to Arkenford will focus on evaluating the Transition Mapping Studies (2013 and the report due in 2017) to understand the extent and manner in which they influenced and impacted on policy development and service delivery.

The 2013 Transition Mapping Study was used to develop an economic model which calculated the total cost of poor transition to the UK as a whole of £113 million in 2012.   The study included the calculated costs to the UK for every aspect of poor military transition, including mental health issues at £26 million and alcohol misuse at £35 million.  It also contained over 40 recommendations on how to reduce the number of these poor transitions, which were relevant to Government, the charity sector and individual Service leavers.  The 2017 Transition Mapping Study, which has just been commissioned by FiMT will consider how these recommendations have been implemented, with a particular focus on employment and the transferability of skills and qualifications.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust said: “The 2013 Transition Mapping Study enabled the Forces in Mind Trust to provide key stakeholders in the Ministry of Defence, the Armed Forces charity sector and all those involved in transition with evidence to help explain where transition fails, and what those failure costs are, as well as giving clear recommendations for improving the process and outcomes for the individuals involved and their families.  These latest grants will build upon the important work already done and will help us review progress made to-date as well as understanding how we can achieve greater impact in the future.

We know the 2013 Transition Mapping Study informed such diverse policy makes as:   the Ministers responsible for veterans in Westminster, Edinburg and Cardiff; Lord Ashcroft; bidders for the Career Transition Partnership contract; and many others well outside the military charities sector.   We are determined to make this 2017 Study even more credible, and even more influential.”

Andrew Curry, the director of The Futures Company who is leading the new study, said:  “Having worked with FiMT on the 2013 Transition Mapping Study, we are delighted to be working with them again on the newly commissioned 2017 Transition Mapping Study.   We hope that it will identify ways to help service leavers transition better into employment, which is often a critical factor in determining the success of transition.”

Ben Moxon, Director at Arkenford said:  “We are delighted to have been appointed to carry out the evaluation of the 2013 Transition Mapping Study and the 2017 Transition Mapping  Study. Our goal is to learn from policy makers and service deliverers so we can provide clear insight and recommendations that enable the FiMT to further their support for military personnel transitioning to civilian life.”

ENDS

Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact Kerrie Josephs at kjosephs@theproffice.com or on 07788 540 924 or 0207 284 6941 or Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

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.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

 All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

 

Work with FiMT: Grants Officer  

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) is currently recruiting a full time Grants Officer.  Based in Victoria, London, the Grants Officer is responsible for assisting FiMT’s Grants Manager with delivering every aspect of the Trust’s grants programme.

FiMT was established in 2011 with a £35 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund to spend over a 20-year period on providing UK-wide support and advocacy for ex-Service personnel and their families to make a successful transition back to civilian life.  The Trust awards grants and commissions research to generate an evidence base to influence and underpin policy makers and service deliverers.  Our grant funding programme is a key component of achieving this aim, and is currently set at around £3m per year.

Follow this link for a job description

To apply, please email a CV (no more than 2 sides of A4) and a covering letter for the attention of Lucy Caruana to ea@fim-trust.org

The deadline for applications is:  12pm on Monday 10th October 2016.  Interviews will be held on 25th October in London.

 

 

Forces in Mind Trust welcomes new Chairman

The Board of Forces in Mind Trust has appointed Hans Pung, President of RAND Europe, as its Chairman with effect from December 2016.  Hans succeeds the Trust’s founding Chairman, Air Vice-Marshal Tony Stables CBE, who is standing down after 5 years.

Hans entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1991, and served in the US Army as an engineer officer until 2002.  During this period he studied for 2 years at postgraduate level at Merton College Oxford, and subsequently joined RAND Europe in Cambridge as a policy analyst.  Responsible for research across Europe in defence, health, innovation, social policy, and security, Hans was appointed RAND Europe’s President in 2012.  Hans and his family live in North Hertfordshire.

Deputy Chairman Andrew Cowan, who led the selection process, said: “We are delighted to appoint Hans Pung as our Board Chairman.  His experience and abilities will ensure Forces in Mind Trust builds on the outstanding work of Tony Stables as we implement our strategy for the coming years”.

Hans Pung said: “Being from a military background myself, I understand the challenges of moving from military to civilian life.  I’m delighted to be joining the Forces in Mind Trust as Chairman and supporting its exceptional work helping Service members and their families make a successful and sustainable transition.”

-ENDS-

Notes to Editor

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.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.
  • All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

About RAND Europe:

RAND Europe is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to help improve policy and decision making through research and analysis.  Clients include European institutions, governments, charities, foundations, universities and private sector firms with a need for objective research.  Combined with proven methodological expertise in evaluation, impact measurement and choice modelling, RAND Europe offers quality-assured research and analysis, unbiased insights and actionable solutions that make a difference to people’s lives. www.randeurope.org

Useful links

 

RAND Europe review finds a lack of evidence about the challenges faced by Service personnel and their families in the transition to civilian life

A new report released today by RAND Europe and commissioned by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), finds that there is a lack of available evidence exploring the challenges faced by Service personnel and their families as they transition to civilian life.

The report was commissioned by FiMT following its Families Engagement Programme, to develop a better understanding of the existing evidence base and gaps in available literature, and builds on FiMT’s publication entitled ‘Better Understanding the Support Needs of Service Leaver Families’ (March 2015).

Every year approximately 17,000 Service personnel leave the UK Armed Forces and return to civilian life, and there is growing recognition that families of Service personnel could be better supported in their transition from military to civilian life.  The report launched today is the first ever systematic review of all available literature and databases, and focuses on four key areas: Engagement with Families; Family Breakdown; Housing Support; and Spousal Employment.

Previous research by FiMT as part of the Families Engagement Programme highlighted:

  • A low utilisation of services provided by the MOD and voluntary organisation, designed to increase awareness of the different issues that families need to consider whilst transitioning to civilian life.  The systematic review focussed on literature looking to understand families’ engagement with service providers, barriers to successful engagement and ways to overcome them.
  • Anecdotal evidence that active service, long overseas postings and transition from military to civilian life can lead to the breakdown of the family unit.  The review considered research around relationship breakdown between a serving person and their spouse, with a particular focus on the comparisons with the civilian population and whether military transition acts as a trigger for a relationship breakdown.
  • Housing is the greatest financial issue facing families, particularly if they have been in Service accommodation.  A recurring theme of the stakeholder engagement programme was the difficulty some families reportedly experienced in finding suitable accommodation when leaving MOD-provided Service Families Accommodation, whilst undergoing transition.  The focus of the review here was on families’ access to relevant information before and during transition.
  • Low employment rates were reported amongst spouses of Service leavers in comparison to the wider population.  The focus of the review here was on literature looking to understand potential barriers to spousal employment and ways to overcome them, and also the benefits to ex-Service personnel of having a spouse in employment.

The review found that existing research and evidence across all four key areas was very limited and little of the examined material focused specifically on transition, but rather support offered to families whilst a spouse was still serving.  Furthermore, the literature often focused primarily on the US context, with the relevance and applicability of the findings to the UK being under-assessed.

The report recommends the following:

  • More comparative studies to demonstrate the impact of particular interventions for the families of Service leavers in transition.  Identify, analyse and explain similarities and differences across different types of Service leavers and their families to illustrate how interventions can be differentially effective in different types of Service leavers.
  • More funding for longitudinal research should be allocated.
  • Funding should be made available for an evaluation of the effectiveness of the different support schemes available.
  • Funding for a ‘mapping study’ should be made available to map the support provided through the MOD and the wider network of support available through government bodies, charities and other agencies.
  • An assessment of the applicability of international research to UK Service leaver families is also recommended, to inform the future development of policy and support programmes.

RAND quote: “Our systematic review found a lack of objective evidence of the challenges faced by UK Service personnel and their families when adjusting to civilian life.  In particular, there is a shortage of rigorous research on engagement with families, family breakdown, housing and spousal engagement.     Further in-depth research in these key areas is vital to inform future research directions, research funding prioritisation and practical actions and policy making.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “RAND’s systematic review has revealed the paucity of UK-relevant evidence available to those whose purpose it is to support families.  Going forward, we will now consider how to close the gaps identified within the review with purpose, focus and commitment, as part of our strategy to generate a strong evidence base that we can use to influence how the families of Service personnel transitioning back to civilian life can be better supported.”