Improving Help Seeking

One of our key research priorities is:
Methods to improve help-seeking rates, and barriers to help-seeking.

Research suggests that the general population experience considerable barriers when accessing mental health care, and that such barriers can be even more problematic for ex-Service personnel. Help-seeking services primarily include those provided by The State, the Third sector (including those provided by military-specific charities) and by other informal support networks.

Barriers to accessing mental health care and support are often attributed by research to stigma around mental health problems. ‘The mental health of serving and ex-Service personnel review’, a report commissioned by Forces in Mind Trust in 2013 in partnership with The Mental Health Foundation, found that “barriers to care in military populations have been well documented” and that these include perceived stigma and lack of trust or confidence in providers, as well as “strong masculine norms” and fears of possible impact on their future career (read the report). Similar findings also emerged in FiMT’s ’Call to Mind’ (2015) report, commissioned in collaboration with NHS England and Community Innovations Enterprise, where a lack of understanding of military culture was cited as a barrier to engaging with therapies (read the report, pages 36-39 and 49-50 are particularly relevant).

The Mental Health Research Programme is interested in receiving applications that seek to identify barriers to help-seeking for veterans, and/or evidence or evaluation of ways of improving help-seeking rates.