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Forces in Mind Trust takes its sector briefing programme to York and Nottingham

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has held two briefing events, the first in York on Thursday 16th and the second in Nottingham on Friday 17th November, which were attended by over 80 people. Attendees came from a wide range of sectors including the Armed Forces Community and Armed Forces charities as well as other key stakeholders and interested parties who work to support ex-Service personnel and their families.

The events, which were the last in a series of regional briefings in the existing format, were led by Chief Executive of FiMT, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, and supported by his executive team. The briefings highlighted FiMT’s work to provide an evidence base which aims to influence policy making and service delivery, in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives.

There was also an update on FiMT’s strategy, current work and priorities, the Mental Health Research Programme and the newly established Veterans’ Research Centre. Attendees had the opportunity to engage with FiMT’s executive team and network over lunch.

Air Vice-Marshal Lock said: “We would like to thank everyone who attended these two events and made them so stimulating and enjoyable.  This now concludes 4 years of sector briefings across the United Kingdom.  In 2018 we will be developing a new engagement programme that will allow us to take forward our key strategic imperatives to become more targeted and proactive with our grant awards, and to improve the exploitation and impact of our work by increasing our influence.”

Homeless Veterans Help Build Their Own Homes

The Forces in Mind Trust has awarded a grant of £70,000 to the Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) to enable them to continue with their work helping veterans who have particularly struggled with housing and employment in the transition to civilian life.

After an initial pilot in Bristol seven years ago, the reach of the project, which aims to help disadvantaged veterans build their own homes and achieve lasting employment, has expanded across the South West and beyond.

The CSBA works to increase confidence and skills, so that a veteran completing a self-build project leaves with a significantly improved lifestyle and feels a valued part of the community. At the end of the first two schemes, 22 people had helped build the home they now live in and all are in employment.

Norman Biddle, Chairman of CSBA said: “The Community Self Build Agency are delighted that Forces in Mind Trust have made a significant grant at such an important time in the development of our Charity. This grant will help us with the development of our Governance and in-house support with fundraising, administration and financial management.

“We can now roll out our support of our deserving Veterans on a wider and national basis following the success of our first 5 completed projects where we have supported some 55 Veterans to self-build their own homes, move into employment and in many cases reconnect with their estranged families.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust said: “Transition from the Armed Forces for the majority of Service leavers is a positive experience. For a minority, it is a difficult challenge and due to a variety of circumstances, some ex-Service personnel need extra support to secure a home, a future career and more generally to adapt to life away from the Armed Forces.

“Our independent evaluation of CSBA’s two Bristol-based schemes, published in February this year, demonstrated the efficacy and value (economic as well as personal) of these innovative projects.  This award, made under our capacity building strand, is designed to allow CSBA to achieve a sustainable model, from which veterans, and indeed the whole of society, will benefit.”

-Ends-

Note to Editor:  Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916

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 will be hosted on the Veterans’ and Families’ Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Autumn 2017. 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

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

About the Mental Health Research Programme: www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme/

About the Veterans self-build (VSB) community self-build agency (CSBA)

The Community Self-Build Agency’s charitable initiative emerged in the 1980s with a project called Zenzele, in St Pauls Bristol and has undertaken some 175+ projects since providing some 1200 housing units and thousands of qualifications for disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community.

For the last 7 years we have focused on the homeless veteran population which is at an unacceptable level of some 8000+ nationally. The media recently reported that 459 service personnel were discharged from service this year with PTSD and mental health specific problems and that 40% of these will fall out of the system.

The CSBA proven model is to identify a location where veterans are in need, locate a nominal cost site usually in conjunction with a willing local authority and then approach a pro-active Housing Association as a partner who will lead the construction development phase including securing the regulatory approvals and then appoint an experienced and co-operative contractor.

The mission of CSBA is to provide a progressive transformational programme, using the platform of a building site self-build (under supervision), to enable veterans towards recovery, long term stable accommodation and full-time employment. Since 2010, the Veterans Self Build division of the CSBA has to date helped 55+ individuals plus their families out of housing crisis.

Useful links

Website:  www.veteransselfbuild.org

Twitter:    @vetsselfbuild

Facebook: Veterans Self Build

Behavioural Insights Team to help engagement with Service families

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) has been awarded £131,307 by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), to assess whether empirical insights from social and behavioural sciences can help Service leavers’ families benefit more from services that support transition from the Armed Forces.

The need for this project came from work around families which FiMT has been developing over the last couple of years, when problems with engagement have been highlighted.

This year-long project is the first phase of what will be a two-phase project. The first stage will focus on assessing how engagement with, and by, families works, and where it could be improved. The findings from this first phase will include recommendations for a pilot project. The proposed pilot study would be the second phase.

BIT will use in-depth qualitative research to understand the behaviours involved in the process of transitioning from the Armed Forces. It will look for solutions and ideas to support the families of Service personnel.

Ray Lock Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust said: “Forces in Mind Trust was created to enable ex-Service personnel and their families achieve a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life. Engagement is really important. This is the first project we have funded with BIT and we are excited to see how their innovative and insightful approach could be used to benefit families by improving engagement, both during their time as a Service family and especially as they approach transition.”

<<Ends>>

 Note to Editor:  Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

About the Mental Health Research Programme: www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme/

About the Behavioural Insights Team

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is a social purpose company. BIT was mutualised in 2014 and is part owned by the Cabinet Office; Nesta (the innovation charity); and its employees.

BIT started life inside 10 Downing Street as the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences. Since its spin out from Government in 2014, BIT has expanded globally, with offices in New York, Sydney, Singapore and Wellington.

BIT works to:

  •     Make public services more cost-effective and easier for citizens to use;
  •     Improve outcomes by introducing a more realistic model of human behaviour to policy; and
  •     Wherever possible enable people to make better choices for themselves.

www.bi.team

New research finds mental health stigma is not a main barrier to ex-Service personnel seeking help

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded research released today, Tuesday 14th November, reveals stigma does not have a significant impact in preventing ex-Service personnel from seeking help for mental health problems. Research by King’s College London shows that the decision to seek help is mainly influenced by the veteran’s perceived need for treatment.

Information was gathered from 62 in-depth telephone interviews with male veterans who had left the Armed Forces in the last five years. Interviews focused on veterans’ perception of their own mental health, of barriers and facilitators to help seeking, and their mental health care experiences.

The report explores the barriers and facilitators to care for the UK veteran population and how these impact on the help seeking behaviour a veteran with mental health problems may experience on their journey to mental well-being. Findings show the journey typically starts with veterans first recognising they have a mental health problem, before deciding whether to seek treatment (which could be influenced by many factors, from fear and stigma, to whether they think they need treatment or believe it could help). To conclude the journey, veterans must continue to be deemed eligible for treatment by the system, as well as retaining a belief that the treatment is working.

Although mental health stigma was a concern highlighted by all veterans in the study, this did not have a significant impact on help seeking, and where it did, it was only on their initial interaction with mental health services. Evidence shows the decision to ask for help was mainly affected by the perceived need for treatment.

Those not in mental health treatment failed to recognise their problems as ‘a mental health disorder’ as they had not yet reached a ‘crisis point’; while those who were in treatment typically had reached this crisis point, and as such, their need for treatment was made known to others either due to a serious event, or to another’s intervention. Once in support, veterans’ positive beliefs about the utility of the treatment had a huge impact on whether they stayed in treatment.

For some veterans who experienced mental health distress more than once, their interaction with mental health support took one of three patterns:

  • Consistent failure to identify a problem and the need for treatment
  • Initial negative experiences with care resulting in negative beliefs about its use and blocking future progression through the support system
  • The most frequently discussed recurrent barrier to care: the provision of mental health support itself. Time and again veterans failed to engage successfully with the mental health support system due to eligibility issues, waiting list issues, and to services being withdrawn by providers

Dr Stevelink, Lecturer in Epidemiology at King’s College London, and Professor Neil Greenberg, Professor of Defence Mental Health said: “This research aimed to identify the most important barriers and facilitators that should be targeted to improve help seeking in veterans with mental health problems. We found a number of novel and important results. Firstly, many veterans with mental health problems fail to seek help because they just cannot define what constitutes a mental health problem. Once they do recognise they probably have a condition that they cannot sort themselves, they feel unworthy of seeking care.

“Secondly, and rather interesting, we identified that stigma is an important barrier to seeking care but only for those who have never sought mental healthcare before. Those who have successfully sought care before are in fact rather likely to do so again if they develop another mental health problem. Thirdly, and of particular relevance to care providers, we found that any initial poor treatment-seeking experience led to a lack of help seeking if a mental health condition persisted or if the individual developed a subsequent disorder. We now hope to develop interventions, based on the key ‘treatment seeking levers’ the research identified, to improve help seeking for mental health within the UK military veteran population.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This timely research shows that the barriers to accessing mental health support are far more complex than stigma alone, and that stigma seems to play a far smaller role than previously thought. Issues related to support structure bureaucracy, and poor treatment experiences appear to have a much larger impact on the likelihood of veterans seeking and remaining in mental health support through to a successful outcome.

“We hope that the recommendations from this study are noted and actions taken to help prevent some of the barriers that are within the control of others, and to help educate veterans about mental health and the importance of taking action early.”

You can read a copy of the report here

<<ENDS>>

Notes to Editor: Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

About King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2017/18 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King’s has more than 26,500 students (of whom nearly 10,400 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and nearly 6,900 staff. The university is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

King’s has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King’s was ranked 6th nationally in the ‘power’ ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings. Eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*). The university is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of more than £600 million.

King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King’s Health Partners. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world’s leading research-led universities and three of London’s most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.