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Ex-Service personnel more likely to claim disability benefits long-term than unemployment benefits

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded research released today, Tuesday 22nd May, reveals that while nearly a quarter of ex-Service personnel receive unemployment benefit at some point after leaving the Armed Forces, most usage occurs in the period immediately after leaving and is short-term, with only 1.5% continuing to claim the support two years after serving.

The ‘Veterans and benefits’ report, by Dr Howard Burdett of King’s College London (KCL), looks at the relationships between unemployment and disability benefit usage by UK ex-Service personnel, and between social demographics, Service characteristics, mental health (ie Common Mental Disorder (CMD), Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)) and alcohol misuse.

The report makes a series of recommendations for policy makers and service providers which include:

  • Interventions to reduce the need for unemployment benefits should be focused on personnel within the first two years of leaving service, in particular for the immediate period after leaving;
  • Support targeted at ex-Service males primarily, who are ex-Army, shorter-serving, of lower rank on leaving, and are less well educated (GCSE or below); with particularly strong indicators that those who leave in an unplanned manner, have a childhood history of anti-social behaviour, or who have accessed unemployment benefits prior to enlisting will need support; and
  • Further support directed at those with medical discharges and/or a history of pre-enlistment disability benefit use as the evidence shows that they are at higher risk of disability benefit.

The research linked records from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) cohort study (which includes data from nearly 11,000 former members of the UK Armed Forces), with Department of Work and Pensions data on the unemployment and disability benefit usage of the same individuals.

Evidence from the study highlighted that while almost a quarter of ex-Service personnel took unemployment benefit at some point, and only 5.2% took disability benefit, it was disability benefit that was more likely to be for a longer term.

Overall, childhood adversity and unplanned leaving were the most consistent predictors of unemployment benefit use. For disability benefits, the strongest factor in usage was having a history of pre-service disability benefits, being discharged on medical grounds, and post-service mental ill-health.

Interestingly, alcohol misuse did not predict disability benefit use, it was only a weak factor for subsequent unemployment benefit use (as were in-service physical and mental health issues), and recovery from alcohol misuse had no impact on reducing either benefit.

While the report acknowledged the work of the Ministry of Defence in increasing mental healthcare support for serving and ex-Service personnel, the findings showed that reducing mental health symptoms after leaving the Services did not reduce the risk of using unemployment benefits; though reducing PTSD and CMD symptoms did have a positive effect in reducing disability benefit.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This new report by King’s developed a ground-breaking linkage between the data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and that held by King’s Centre for Military Health Research in order to produce real insights into how ex-Service personnel fare when discharged, in terms of unemployment and disability benefit claims. The evidence-based recommendations provided highlight where the limited resources of the State and the Third Sector can be best deployed.”

Dr Howard Burdett, Kings College London, said: “This pioneering data linkage project, combining public data from the Department of Work and pensions with data from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, found that unemployment claims by veterans dropped to a low level within 2 years after leaving, but claims for disability benefit were longer-term, were associated with symptoms of poor mental health, and an improvement of such symptoms could reduce disability claims by veterans. This study provides an evidence base for policy regarding veterans’ benefits, and in particular the relevance of mental health to this issue.”

You can read the full report here

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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 King’s College London kcl.ac.uk

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.

FiMT awards funds for a systematic review and evidence map of research on the mental health needs of serving and ex-Service personnel

Forces in Mind Trust has awarded the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) £95,877 to conduct a systematic review of evidence of the mental health needs of serving and ex-Service personnel and their families since 2012.

The 9-month project will cover all three services, in the context of their transition to civilian life, and will include the perspectives of key stakeholders. Areas where the evidence is strong and where there are gaps in evidence will be recorded, and where evidence allows, recommendations will be made for the attention of policy makers and service providers, along with future areas on which to focus research.

The review will also include the construction of an evidence map of research on interventions to promote, detect, prevent and treat the mental health of serving and ex-Service personnel.

A comparison between the 2013 FiMT commissioned mental health review will also be undertaken to determine the continued relevance of previous findings and to assess where progress has been made on the report recommendations.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “One of the founding priorities of FiMT is ‘to promote better mental health and well-being’ and ‘to build organizations’ capacity to deliver evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation’. The Trust has worked hard to develop an understanding of the mental health environment, and to identify where it can best deploy its finite resources to maximum effect.

“The review by NatCen will ensure that we are utilizing the most accurate and up-to-date information, to ensure policy makers and service providers have the necessary information to act in the best interests of the minority of ex-Service personnel who need to access mental health support.”

Guy Goodwin, Chief Executive of NatCen said: “We’re delighted to be working with Forces in Mind Trust on this important project. It’s an excellent opportunity to improve our understanding of the mental health needs of current and ex-Service personnel, to help target support and care where required.”

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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 https://www.vfrhub.com/. 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 National Centre for Social Research:

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.

Website: www.natcen.ac.uk

Twitter: @natcen

Statement in response to Lord Ashcroft stepping down from the Veterans’ Transition role

Reacting to Lord Ashcroft’s decision to step down as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Veterans’ Transition, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust has said: 

“Right from the outset of his appointment in 2012, Lord Ashcroft has properly held all of us to account for our work supporting the Armed Forces Community, and in particular for those struggling to cope with the challenging stage of transition into civilian life.  He has weathered the storms of political turmoil, and has faced his own mortality, but has been unwavering in his determination to help those ex-Service personnel and their families most in need.  It is serendipitous that his appointment coincided with the establishment by the Big Lottery Fund of the Forces in Mind Trust, and his readiness to use our evidence to inform his strategic thinking is exactly how we believe policy should be developed.  Indeed, his initial support for the nascent veterans’ research hub at Anglia Ruskin University steeled our Board to make the commitment to establish the successor Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre, of which we are proud that Lord Ashcroft has agreed to be the founding Patron.

“Lord Ashcroft has stated that the work he set out to do is complete.  That may be so, but there are still many aspects of supporting or enabling transition that need improving, and Forces in Mind Trust is determined that the initial impetus and consequent momentum provided by the Prime Minister’s Special Representative will be maintained, and that together across the State and voluntary sectors, we can achieve our vision that all ex-Service personnel and their families lead fulfilled civilian lives.  All of us at Forces in Mind Trust thank Lord Ashcroft for his friendship, support and guidance over the last 6 years, and we wish him well as he pursues his many other interests.”

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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 https://www.vfrhub.com/. 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/

 

New FiMT Award: Swansea University awarded funds to better understand levels of gambling in ex-Service personnel

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded Swansea University £279,503 to undertake the first ever UK survey to understand and explore the levels of gambling participation and attitudes to gambling in ex-Service personnel.

International evidence reveals a hidden gambling problem among ex-Service personnel but there is a lack of relevant data as to the nature and extent of gambling problems in UK Armed Forces Service-leavers.

This two-and-a-half-year study aims to identify how ex-Service personnel may be more vulnerable to developing issues with gambling than the wider population, and estimate any resultant healthcare costs by exploring the relationship between financial management and mental health problems.

Participants in the project will complete self-report questionnaires addressing their personal demographics, financial problems, social and mental health problems, and gambling attitudes and behaviour.

For those who complete the survey online there will be additional questions posed covering whether they have gambled using technology and where the gambling took place. Further questions will be put forward surrounding registration with online betting companies.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The public perception of ex-Service personnel can be quite negative, and includes a tendency towards excessive gambling and other addictive behaviours. This ground-breaking study by Swansea University will provide credible evidence of the actual levels and nature of gambling among ex-Service personnel; it will present an understanding of whether they are more prone to excessive gambling than the rest of the population, and if so, will identify what type of support is required to those in need of it.”

Professor Simon Dymond, Swansea University, said: “We are delighted that FiMT has chosen to fund this important work. The public health challenges posed by problem gambling are growing, and we hope that this research, whatever the findings, will help start a conversation about the need to potentially assess and understand problem gambling in former members of the UK Armed Forces in greater detail.”

The study will be conducted in collaboration with researchers at Anglia Ruskin University, Bangor University, Veterans’ NHS Wales, University of Ulster, EPIC Risk Management, and the Swansea Centre for Health Economics.

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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 https://www.vfrhub.com/. 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/

Swansea University is a world-class, research-led, dual campus university. The University was established in 1920 and was the first campus university in the UK. It currently offers around 350 undergraduate courses and 350 postgraduate courses to circa 20,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The University’s 46-acre Singleton Park Campus is located in beautiful parkland with views across Swansea Bay.  The University’s 65-acre science and innovation Bay Campus, which opened in September 2015, is located a few miles away on the eastern approach to the city. It has the distinction of having direct access to a beach and its own seafront promenade.  Both campuses are close to the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Swansea was named ‘Welsh University of the Year’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. The University is in the top 300 best universities in the world, ranked in the 251-300 group in The Times Higher Education World University rankings 2018.

The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 showed the University has achieved its ambition to be a top 30 research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK, with the ‘biggest leap among research-intensive institutions’ (Times Higher Education, December 2014) in the UK.

The University has ambitious expansion plans as it moves towards its centenary in 2020, as it continues to extend its global reach and realising its domestic and international ambitions.

Swansea University is a registered charity. No.1138342. Visit www.swansea.ac.uk

FiMT awards funds to Barnardo’s to evaluate the needs of imprisoned ex-Service personnel and their families

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) is delighted to announce an award of £91,707 to Barnardo’s to assess the needs of ex-Service personnel and their families who are serving, or have served, a custodial prison sentence.

Focusing on the Southwest and West Midlands areas, the project will access the connections that Barnardo’s have already developed in HMPs, the Criminal Justice System and Armed Forces charities.

The 18-month study will consist of interviews with ex-Service personnel and their children and families to ascertain the need, unmet need, the availability of support services and the impact of imprisonment.

Professionals working with the cohort will also be interviewed to identify needs of ex-Service personnel in custody, understand their current skills and knowledge in relation to supporting prisoners and their families, and to explore the challenges of cross-sector working.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “While the majority of Service leavers transition positively, there is a minority; which includes those who have spent time in custody, and their families, who have a more difficult time on the pathway to civilian life.

“We know from our previous work that successful transition is more likely when there is a stable family in place, and we are pleased to be partnering with Barnardo’s, whose considerable experience and expertise in this field will enable an impactful project.

“This study will enable service providers and policy makers to better inform their decision-making process and ensure that the ex-Service personnel who have a custodial sentence are not slipping through the net.”

Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, said: “Through our specialist services we know that children with a parent in prison are some of the most overlooked and isolated in the UK, and have disrupted childhoods that can ruin their life chances. They are innocent victims but often end up being punished.

“We are delighted with this funding from the Forces in Mind Trust which will enable us to produce clear guidance on the needs of veterans and their families to ensure that their needs are met effectively by both the criminal justice system and the agencies that support them.”

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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 Barnardo’s

Last year 272,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

Barnardo’s works to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year helps thousands of families to build a better future.

Barnardo’s works with several prisons running visit centres, family days and parenting programmes that strengthen family relationships and help prepare for the return home. It also works with schools and other services and to help re-integrate the offender back into the family on release.

Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out how you can get involved. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605

Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews