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Forces in Mind Trust launches the Transition Mapping Study 2017: Continue to Work Report

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women, and their families, make a successful transition back to civilian life, today [25th July 2017] launched its Continue to Work report by Kantar Futures, at the Royal Air Force Club, London

The report (a follow-up of the original Transition Mapping Study published in 2013) has a threefold purpose: to review research and activity around the area of transition since 2013; to increase understanding of skills transfer and employment post-transition; and to update the quantitative model of the costs of poor transition from the original report.

The report found that progress has been made towards implementing the recommendations made in the 2013 Transition Mapping Study. Key developments are: the inclusion of Early Service Leavers in the resettlement provision provided by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), the launch of the VeteransGateway in April 2017 as a single point of contact for leavers, and greater co-ordination among leavers’ charities.

The costs of poor transition projected by the model are £105m in 2017, climbing slightly to £110m in 2020, rounded to the nearest million pounds. This compares with £114m in 2012 (from TMS13). The four largest areas of cost are: Family breakdown; common mental health disorders and PTSD; harmful drinking; and unemployment. 

 The Continue to Work report identified areas that need improvement. Further recommendations include:

·       The need to create a right of ‘permission to prepare’ for leavers so they are not disadvantaged by operational requirements

·       Adding a visioning component to the transition process that encourages the leaver to consider what type of civilian they want to be, beyond work

·       Providing greater exposure to those in transition to civilian workplaces

·       Research into those who do not register for CTP support to understand their reasons

 The event was hosted by Andrew Barnett, Director at FiMT and CEO of Calouste Gulbenkian and included an overview briefing from FiMTs Chief Executive, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE.

 Ray Lock said: Much has happened since we published our original Transition Mapping Study in 2013. We are encouraged to see the improvements described in the report, such as new support for Early Service Leavers, but we are determined that the remaining recommendations are acted upon.”

 You can get a copy of the report here

<<Ends>>

Notes to Editor

Ray Lock is available for interview contact:

Tina McKay at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org / direct dial: 020 7901 891

Andrew Curry, Kantar Futures and Tim Cooper, Arkenford will be available post launch

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 Funds 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 Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Summer 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 Kantar Futures

Kantar Futures is an award-winning, global strategic insight and innovation consultancy. Unparalleled global expertise in foresight and futures enables Kantar Futures to unlock new sources of growth for clients through a range of consultancy, global insight and a range of subscription solutions.

http://www.thefuturescompany.com

New Forces in Mind Trust funded project: Novel approach to treating post-traumatic stress disorder

A novel approach could soon play a significant role in helping British military veterans overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), thanks to a new Cardiff University research project.

Funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and supported by Health and Care Research Wales, the study will seek to help veterans who have not responded to current first line PTSD treatments.

The two-year study will investigate the effectiveness of a new therapy known as 3MDR, where patients walk on a treadmill whilst interacting with a series of self-selected images that are related to their trauma, and displayed on a large screen. The aim of this therapy is to help patients learn how to move through their avoidance by, literally, approaching their traumatic memories.

Psychological therapy with a focus on the traumatic event is the treatment of choice for PTSD and can be very helpful but, unfortunately, treatment resistance is high.  Preliminary results from research conducted in the Netherlands suggest that 3MDR may help veterans with treatment resistant, combat-related PTSD.  The aim of the new study is to determine the efficacy of 3MDR in the treatment of British military veterans with treatment-resistant and combat-related PTSD and to explore what factors influence outcome.

The study will be led by Professor Jonathan Bisson of the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. Therapy will be delivered to veterans in contact with Veterans NHS Wales in a specially designed facility.  Researchers hope that exposure to trauma-related images, enhanced with walking and music will eliminate cognitive avoidance – a coping strategy that can contribute to the worsening of PTSD symptoms.

Professor Jonathan Bisson, Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University School of Medicine, said: “There is an urgent need to identify effective treatments for military veterans who do not respond to, or are unable to engage with, current first line treatments.

“Around 4% of British military veterans suffer from PTSD, which often causes significant distress to them and those around them, along with considerable financial and social impact. This new method of treatment could offer new hope for veterans with PTSD who are currently facing the prospect of life with a chronic and enduring disorder.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, added: “Improving our understanding of veterans’ mental health and effective treatments has been a priority of the Forces in Mind Trust since the Trust’s inception. PTSD has a major impact on the quality of life of a small minority of veterans and it is important that we look at new and viable ways of helping some of those people whose mental health issues can be the hardest to treat.  This is an exciting and innovative approach justifying further exploration which we are very pleased to support.”

During the study, researchers will regularly assess the symptoms of PTSD in patients receiving treatment in order to measure its clinical efficacy. The findings will be presented in a report at the end of the project.

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

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 Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Summer 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 Cardiff University:

  • Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University 5th in the UK for research excellence. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans.  Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff’s flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to pressing global problems. www.cardiff.ac.uk

 

 

 

Online tools shown to work to help cut drinking in former soldiers

UK Armed Forces personnel moving back into civilian life and having difficulties with alcohol could be helped by the use of online tools, a new study has revealed.

The research led by Newcastle University, published in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, shows that web-based programmes may be an effective way to tackle excess alcohol consumption.

Findings by the experts have now been used to develop new documents funded by the Forces in Mind Trust to summarise the effectiveness of interventions to protect the wellbeing of those in the military.

Research has highlighted that two in three men in the UK Armed Forces are defined as drinking harmful amounts compared with just over one in three in the general population.

Online support

The study, led by Dr Sarah Wigham, Research Associate at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience, reveals that online support worked especially when it involved personalised feedback.

It also found some effectiveness of electronic reminders prompting medical professionals to give advice.

Dr Wigham said: “This research could offer a lifeline to someone leaving the Armed Forces, or their family, as it shows that an online tool can help them cut back if they are concerned about their drinking.

“We know that if alcohol is used to help someone cope it may complicate the process of moving back to civilian life, for example, by exacerbating any mental health symptoms, or causing further issues such as difficulty sleeping or relationship problems.

“These quick internet tools were shown to be useful to people who may otherwise be reluctant to seek help as a way of reducing the amount of alcohol consumed.”

An information sheet on the study’s findings can be found at the Forces in Mind Trust website as the charity funded this research. Later this year, two further documents will be published summarising the overall findings and interventions for wellbeing.

Unique pressures and demands

Brief interventions in the study included an individual recording online the amount of alcohol they had consumed recently, receiving personalised information on what this translates to in equivalent units of alcohol, calories, financial cost and other indicators which may be motivators to cut down.

It also includes information on mental health, pros and cons of drinking, setting goals and coping strategies for situations in which an individual may be tempted to drink more than usual.

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Most members of the Armed Forces transition into civilian life successfully, however, evidence indicates that a small number may have unhealthy levels of alcohol consumption. It can be difficult for these individuals to identify how to access support for their drinking, or even whether they have a problem.

“One of the Forces in Mind Trust’s research priorities is alcohol and substance misuse, including effective and appropriate interventions.

“We would welcome further research to identify the positive impact these brief interventions could have specifically on the Armed Forces community to promote healthier transitions into civilian life.”

Newcastle University’s study showed that brief interventions can promote awareness of the health effects, and social or occupational effects of harmful levels of drinking.

Dr Wigham said: ‘’The study findings and the new documents will be of benefit to policy makers and service deliverers by helping to inform decisions on which interventions to fund and develop.’’

The online tools encourage people to drink in moderation rather than enforcing abstinence and can prompt them to think about the amount of alcohol they are consuming, increase awareness of any negative health and social effects, and may help them make different choices or change habits.

Interventions found to have an impact on moderating alcohol consumption included those delivered over the internet and using personalised feedback, and that had been developed specifically for Armed Forces personnel.

Coping with change

Data was collected from currently serving and former male members of the Armed Forces in the USA.

The study focused on military personnel moving back into civilian life as this can require simultaneous adjustments to job, housing, location, finances, relationships and family life. For some, these life changes coming together may increase their susceptibility to stress which in turn can lead to people drinking more than the healthy recommended levels of alcohol.

The researchers examined a number of online programmes including ‘VetChange’ and ‘Drinker’s Check-Up’ and further information can be found on the Forces in Mind Trust website.

Dr Wigham said: “This study will benefit those moving back into civilian life by highlighting the effectiveness of some alcohol brief interventions including those delivered online. This will help service providers develop and trial similar systems for the UK.”

The study is a collaboration with Teesside University and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Professor of Alcohol and Public Health Research at Teesside University, is co-author of the study.

She said: “This is a really important piece of work which highlights, not only the levels of risky drinking former soldiers have, but also addresses ways in which we can help them to reduce their risky drinking.

“The research clearly shows that those leaving the Armed Forces are consuming higher levels of alcohol and more work needs to be done to support them in their transition into civilian life.”

The study is part of Newcastle Academic Health Partners, a collaboration involving Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University.

Newcastle Academic Health Partners harnesses world-class expertise to ensure patients benefit sooner from new treatments, diagnostics and prevention strategies.

Reference

A systematic review of the effectiveness of alcohol brief interventions for the UK military personnel moving back to civilian life

Sarah Wigham, A Bauer, S Robalino, J Ferguson, A Burke, D Newbury-Birch

Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Doi: 10.1136/jramc-2016-000712

Research referenced:

Fear NT, Iversen A, Meltzer H, et al. Patterns of drinking in the UK Armed Forces. Addiction 2007;102:1749–59.

Notes to Editors:

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 Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Summer 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/

 

Ex-Service personnel, employment and mental health: Forces in Mind Trust issues call for research proposals

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), in collaboration with Centre for Mental Health and King’s Centre for Military Health Research, has issued its second highlight notice under its multi-million pound Mental Health Research Programme, a five year programme established 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 through the Mental Health Research Programme (MHRP) that propose innovative ways to identify, evaluate and/or propose new methods to address employment rates of former Services personnel with mental ill-health.

Ex-Service personnel suffering from mental ill-health are likely to be the most susceptible ex-Service group to a range of hardships, including unemployment. A FiMT commissioned review of serving and ex-Service personnel (2013) identified those who leave military service due to mental ill-health as being at an increased risk of social exclusion and continuing poor health, and highlighted 11 areas to address, including:

  • The prevalence of diagnosed mental health problems in UK serving personnel
  • Methods and techniques to enhance the resilience of Service leavers with mental ill-health
  • Potential change mechanisms to help improve ex-Service personnel’s awareness of and engagement in pathways to employment
  • Identify long-term analysis of unemployment rates for ex-Service personnel with mental ill-health, specifically beyond 6 months of leaving service

The MHRP would like to encourage applications that address any of the 11 areas of employment for ex-Service personnel and their families. The full highlight notice can be found here:  http://www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/funding/funding-opportunities/

The MHRP continues to welcome applications to their six standing research priorities, which can be found at:  http://www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme/

Ends

Notes to editors For more information, please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT, on mobile 07956 101132 or email co@fim-trust.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.  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 Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Summer 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/

 

Call to Mind report – A UK Wide review: Common issues in meeting the mental and related health needs of veterans and their families

A new report providing the first UK-wide summary of the mental and related health and social care needs of veterans and their family members and provision of support services, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), was released today, 5th July 2017.

The report, entitled Call to Mind: United Kingdom – Common Themes and Findings from the Reviews of Veterans’ and their Families’ Mental and Related Health Needs in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, was presented to the Ministry of Defence and Department of Health UK Partnership Board to formally launch this final summary. It draws together the key issues and findings from the series of four Call to Mind reports for England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, all of which were completed between 2015 and 2017.

The UK report highlights common issues including gaps in service provision and areas of good practice in meeting the mental and related health needs of veterans and their family members across each UK nation. The report identifies four areas where improvements could be made: strategy, planning and assessment; care pathways and service responses; meeting specific mental and related health and social care needs; and the needs of veterans’ families.

Although there are strong commitments to the Armed Forces Covenant in each of the devolved nations, the report identifies that there are variances and important gaps in national and local strategy and planning for meeting mental and related health and social care needs.  Even where there is a strong national strategic focus on meeting these needs, this is often not evidenced in local area strategy and planning documentation.  In particular, there is a lack of robust population based assessments of health and social care needs that include veterans’ and their family members’ mental and related health care needs. Where these assessments do exist, they are subject to limitations as a result of poor data collection on veterans in general at local levels. Specifically, there are two factors that are especially relevant to the UK as a whole:

  1. Poor identification rates of veterans and their family members in primary care, including inconsistent use of GP recording of veteran status and the incompatibility of systems across nations.
  2. Veterans and family members being reluctant or lacking competence and confidence to be identified as veterans in health services.

The report calls for a stronger focus on the links between national and local strategy and planning in each of the four nations. This should include ensuring an appropriate population based system for identifying these needs and for commissioning plans that are informed by the data that these assessments provide. The report concludes that this is the most effective means by which resources can be appropriately targeted to need in the way that the Armed Forces Covenant intends.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, says: “Call to Mind: United Kingdom is a body of work aimed at creating, for the first time, a snapshot of the extent to which the mental and related health needs of ex-Service personnel and their families are being assessed and supported by health need assessments (or their equivalents) across all four nations of the United Kingdom. The report crucially identifies that there are variances and important gaps in national and local strategy and planning for meeting the mental and related health and social care needs.  This critical body of research is being presented to the Ministry of Defence and Department of Health to inform the development and delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant UK-wide. These reviews will help inform policy makers and service deliverers across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to better identify and serve veterans and their families as they make the transition into successful civilian lives.”

Dr Jon Bashford, Senior Partner at Community Innovations Enterprise who led the UK series of reviews, says: “We have been working on the individual nation reports for the UK over the previous two years and this report brings all the key issues and findings from those reports together, to produce the first UK-wide report on meeting the mental and related health needs of veterans and family members. There is a lot of good practice across the UK and some excellent services, but there is still more to be done to ensure that all veterans and their family members who need help and support for mental and related health problems receive timely and effective services. In particular, there is a need for more robust, local area, population based health needs assessments that include veterans and their family members. We also believe that this is essential to ensure an appropriate and well-coordinated national and local strategic planning response to meeting these needs for each of the nations of the UK.”

Read the full report here.

ENDS

Notes to editors 

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 Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Summer 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/

Forces in Mind Trust Covenant Work mentioned in Queen’s Speech Debate

Forces in Mind Trust was delighted to be mentioned by Lord Patel of Bradford during his speech on the Armed Forces Covenant as part of the Queen’s Speech Debates on 27 June. You can read his full speech here.

We also welcome the focus of Lord Hay of Ballyore and Baroness Burt of Solihull on this important issue.

Lord Patel of Bradford said: “I particularly welcome the focus on delivering on the Armed Forces covenant across the United Kingdom. I declare an interest having just completed a UK-wide report on veterans’ mental health needs. That report, alongside four detailed reports covering England, ​Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, were all commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust. In fact the trust has just published an important second report on the community covenant which highlights issues of real concern. For example, there are mixed expectations about what the covenant means, especially in relation to the prioritisation of housing needs, and more worryingly, adult social care has been identified as an area where the covenant is least likely to be reflected in local policies and strategies. I hope that these and other issues will be considered in detail during the passage of the Armed Forces Bill.”

Lord Hay of Ballyore said: “I very much welcome what the gracious Speech says about implementing the Armed Forces covenant throughout the United Kingdom, particularly in Northern Ireland, where there have been problems implementing it. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our Armed Forces—our veterans and those serving today.”

Baroness Burt of Solihull said: “On the Armed Forces Bill, the proposals to make the Armed Forces a more attractive prospect for women, and the recognition that more flexibility in considering family circumstances will make for a more effective workforce, are welcome.”

Forces in Mind Trust launch two reports in Belfast on Veteran support services in Northern Ireland

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) hosted an event at La Mon Hotel and Country Club in Belfast on Friday (23 June) to launch two reports on veteran services in Northern Ireland (NI). Attended by 50 people, the event presented findings from the two reports, both funded by FiMT: Serving and Supporting Military Veterans in Northern Ireland, the first of several reports from the Northern Ireland Veterans’ Health and Wellbeing Study from Ulster University; and Call to Mind Northern Ireland: Findings from the Review of Veterans’ and their Families’ Mental and Related Health Needs in Northern Ireland, the last in the Call to Mind single nation report series.

Supporting and Serving Military Veterans in Northern Ireland was presented by Dr Cherie Armour and Dr Bethany Waterhouse-Bradley from the Psychology Research Institute at Ulster University. It is the first report from the Northern Ireland Veterans’ Health and Wellbeing Study (NIVHWS), a large-scale study into the current and future support needs for veterans in NI. This report, which examined services available to support veterans in the region, calls for a formally recognised body to better guide policy and support key agencies working to support veterans in NI.

The Call to Mind Northern Ireland: Findings from the Review of Veterans’ and their Families’ Mental and Related Health Needs in Northern Ireland report, was presented by Dr Jon Bashford, Senior partner at Community Innovations Enterprise. It aims 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. It is the final national report before the concluding United Kingdom summary report next month.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive FiMT says: “We were extremely pleased to host this event and to see the commitment to supporting the Veterans Community in Northern Ireland. The evidence and recommendations put forward by these two reports offer us an opportunity to better understand the issues faced by veterans in Northern Ireland and their families, the sensitivity of the context, and where improvements or adjustments may be made to further enhance understanding of need and service provision. I am very pleased that both reports identify a commitment from policy makers and service delivers to ensure that the particular needs of veterans and their families are better met in Northern Ireland.”

Dr Cherie Armour, Associate Dean for Research & Impact in Life & Health Sciences at Ulster University, said: “I and my team are delighted to publish the first report from the Northern Ireland Veterans Health & Wellbeing Study. The report provides the first ever robust review of the service delivery infrastructure available to veterans in NI. Based on comprehensive evidence base, we propose new structures to optimise the support available to NI veterans. We worked with stakeholders to create recommendations which were realistic, and have a genuine prospect of creating meaningful change for veterans through improved services and communication. The recommendations are driven by the need to see veterans first and foremost citizens of NI, who at times may have a specific support need.”

Dr Jon Bashford, who led the UK series of reviews for Community Innovations Enterprise, said: “Northern Ireland is leading the UK on developing trauma services and this is rightly focused on the whole population. However, there is a need to ensure that veterans living in Northern Ireland can benefit from these services and related mental health and social care provision, in particular, in the statutory sector. This review highlights some of the barriers and issues faced by these services in meeting the needs of these veterans and their families.”

Read the full Call to Mind Northern Ireland: Findings from the Review of Veterans’ and their Families’ Mental and Related Health Needs in Northern Ireland report here.

Read the full Supporting and Serving Military Veterans in Northern Ireland report here.

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 will be hosted on the Veterans Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Summer 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 Ulster University

Ranked in the top 3 per cent of universities worldwide, Ulster University is one of the top 150 global young universities under 50. Ulster University is a modern, forward-looking institution with student

experience at the very heart of everything we do. Our high quality teaching, informed by world-leading research across key sectors, boosts the economy and has a positive impact on the lives of people around the world. For more information please visit www.ulster.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter @ulsteruni

FiMT and LGA release second edition of ‘Our Community – Our Covenant’ report

The second edition of the ‘Our Community – Our Covenant’ report was released today (26 June), commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) working in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA) to identify further ways to improve the local delivery of the Government’s Armed Forces Covenant.

The Second Edition is based on follow-on research that was undertaken after the release of the first report in July 2016, also carried out by Shared Intelligence. This includes a refined self-assessment toolkit, a greater focus on the London boroughs, and a report on progress since the original report was published.

Chief Executive Ray Lock said: “With last week’s announcement in the Queen’s speech of the government’s intention to improve Covenant delivery across the United Kingdom, this is a timely update to an insightful and useful piece of work.”

Read the report here.

ENDS

Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact Jack Rodway at jrodway@theproffice.com or on 07824 119 171 or 0207 284 6961 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.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

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

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Forces in Mind Trust releases next Call to Mind Review in the UK Series: Findings from the Review of Veterans’ and their Families’ mental health needs in Northern Ireland

A new report outlining changes and challenges to mental health services for veterans in Northern Ireland, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), was released today, 23 June 2017, and has identified that there is a need for greater support for veterans with mental and related health and social care problems from statutory services.

The review explores statutory mental health services for veterans, taking into account the sensitive issues within the context of the country’s complex history, current political landscape, and impact of equality legislation. For those who served in Northern Ireland, the incidence of reported mental health problems is higher than average but there is very little data and information about the needs of veterans living in Northern Ireland and how statutory services can meet these needs.

The report, entitled ‘Call to Mind Northern Ireland: Findings from the Review of Veterans’ and their Families’ Mental and Related Health Needs in Northern Ireland, focuses predominantly on statutory and clinical mental and related health provision for veterans, due to a further significant project (Ulster University’s Northern Ireland Veterans Health and Wellbeing Study) being carried out in Northern Ireland at the same time, the primary focus of which is the voluntary (and statutory excluding NHS) sectors. The Call to Mind report highlights that while Northern Ireland does have mental and related health support structures for veterans, there are gaps in statutory provision and specific areas where further improvements could be made. While mental health is regarded as one of the four most significant causes of ill health and disability in the general Northern Ireland population (along with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer), there remain areas where further improvements could be made, especially in relation to accessing and collecting data relating to veterans, the types of services and treatments being accessed, and the individual outcomes for those with diagnosed mental health conditions receiving therapy-based treatments.

Nine key issues are identified by the report to strengthen the nation’s strategy to meet the needs of veterans and their family members within a complex and still politically charged society. Some key areas identified for improvement are:

  • Help seeking amongst veterans – The problems faced by veterans living in Northern Ireland are potentially more complicated and sensitive than those faced by veterans in England, Scotland and Wales due to personal security concerns, making it difficult for them to seek help openly for mental health issues.
  • Early intervention and reducing stigma – The veterans’ community needs help to break down barriers to service access and ensure early intervention for mental health problems.
  • The Armed Forces Covenant and equality legislation – The complex history of Northern Ireland and perceived conflicts between the Armed Forces Covenant and current equality legislation, has made it difficult for service providers to signpost and provide information specifically targeted at veterans on how to access appropriate services.
  • Community-Based Mental Health Provision – Access to specialist residential treatments for veterans in Northern Ireland is limited by large distances, and alternative community-based therapeutic and support programmes should be developed.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, says: “The Call to Mind: Northern Ireland review makes the final, essential contribution to our wider body of work in creating, for the first time, a snapshot of the extent to which the mental and related health needs of ex-Service personnel and their families are being assessed and supported across all four nations of the United Kingdom.  The Northern Ireland review, when read together with the findings of our other FiMT-funded project in Northern Ireland, Ulster University’s Northern Ireland Veterans Health and Wellbeing Study, provide a comprehensive evidence base to aid policy maker and service provider decision-making.  It is very positive that the review’s key messages and opportunities for further development have come directly from stakeholders who work with veterans, as they have expressed their commitment to delivering services to a high standard to ensure that the particular needs of veterans in Northern Ireland are met.”

Dr Jon Bashford, Senior Partner at Community Innovations Enterprise who led the UK series of reviews, says: “Northern Ireland is leading the UK on developing trauma services and this is rightly focused on the whole population. However, there is a need to ensure that veterans living in Northern Ireland can benefit from these services and related mental health and social care provision, in particular, in the statutory sector. This review highlights some of the barriers and issues faced by these services in meeting the needs of these veterans and their families.”

Read the full report here.

ENDS

Notes to editors 

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 Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, which is going live in Summer 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/