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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/

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

Twitter: @FiMTrust

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/

New Forces in Mind Trust Report: Optimising the infrastructure in place to support the needs of veterans in Northern Ireland

A new report examining the support and service provision to the veteran population in Northern Ireland (NI), funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), was released today, 23 June 2017, by Ulster University. The report calls for the infrastructure in place to support veterans in NI to be better embedded in policy-making and statutory service delivery networks.

‘Supporting and Serving Military Veterans in Northern Ireland’ is the first output of the Northern Ireland Veterans’ Health and Wellbeing Study (NIVHWS); a large scale study into the health and wellbeing of NI veterans. The NIVHWS seeks to assess the current and future health and wellbeing needs of the veteran population in NI, outline the system of support currently available to NI veterans, and the identify ways in which this may be optimised. NIVHWS, which will run until 2019, will continue to produce outputs to address significant gaps in information about the support needs of the veteran population living in NI. It is the most comprehensive study ever to be produced on this topic.

‘Supporting and Serving Military Veterans in Northern Ireland’, launched today, identifies several areas crucial to service delivery to veterans: representation and advocacy; data collection and monitoring; referrals pathways and communication channels; more joined-up and collaborative working, and provision of veteran mental health services. Underpinning all of these issues, is the need to normalise the idea that veterans in the region are first and foremost citizens of NI who may have a specific set of needs. The report highlights four key areas where change should take place:

  1. Increasing awareness of veterans’ needs in statutory services
  2. Increasing trust in public services among the veteran population;
  3. Supporting and developing the existing infrastructure through targeted resources
  4. Providing a direct connection between on the ground service-providers and key decision makers.

To see this change, the report makes a number of recommendations. Some headlines include:

  • The establishment of an interagency, interdepartmental working group in the NI Executive Office with a strategic focus;
  • The establishment of designated contacts in regional agencies delivering health and social services in NI.
  • The clarification and strengthening of the role of the Veterans’ Champions in Local Government.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, says: The “Supporting and Serving Military Veterans in Northern Ireland report launched today is the most comprehensive account available on the infrastructure supporting veterans in this region. It identifies, for the first time, the full scale and breadth of support and services available to the veteran population living in Northern Ireland and builds a detailed picture of how provision and legislation can be improved to better serve the community. Veterans across the United Kingdom deserve fair treatment, regardless of where they live, and that can only happen when we have a clear understanding of how fair treatment can be delivered, and what decisions are necessary to ensure that it is. The recommendations in this report cover the breadth of veteran services in Northern Ireland and provide a structure from which real change can be enacted. I look forward to further outputs from this important and ground-breaking project.”

Dr Cherie Armour, who led the report, says: “This report is the most comprehensive piece of evidence available to date on the infrastructure in place to support veterans living in Northern Ireland. The NIVHWS team employed a systematic, robust, and rigorous approach to collating the evidence required to write the report. Policy makers and service providers in NI understand the value of evidence in developing policy, designing interventions, and allocating funding; but to date this evidence has been lacking in the region. We hope this report and its recommendations speak to those in charge of service provision and policy development, and provide clear measures for supporting this group of citizens with a varied set of needs. Those working directly with veterans have played a significant role in the research and recommendations, and we have strengthened our relationships with these partners in the community.  This continues to inform and progress our next phase of work, which will give experiences of veterans in NI centre stage and shed yet more light on the issues facing this population.”

Read the full report here.

ENDS

Notes to editor 

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships. All work is published in open access and 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

Veterans need specific services to overcome addiction

The research carried out by Sheffield Hallam University looked at the impact of Right Turn and its effectiveness in supporting and assisting veterans to integrate more successfully back into civilian life.

The results established a number of positive outcomes for the veterans, with the primary finding showing that ex-military service personnel are most likely to engage positively to treatment and support services offered by others with experience of military life.

Further findings included:

  • Of those with a history of contact with the criminal justice system, all reported no further criminal justice contact since joining the project
  • Of the 39% of veterans in active addiction when joining the project, all gained addiction recovery status
  • 65% of the veterans have undertaken further education and training opportunities and are now engaged in voluntary work or paid employment
  • 78% of the veterans reported significant improvements in their relationships with family members since joining the project
  • 65% of veterans reported an increased sense of security and confidence in their management of practical, day-to-day matters, e.g. accommodation and finances
  • 86% reported an improved sense of purpose and direction in life, alongside feeling more confident about achieving their life goals

Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central and former army officer, has given his backing to the project and spoke at the launch of the research.

He said: “This is incredibly important research. I know from my time in the Armed Forces the sense of comradeship and mutual respect which exists between those who serve. I also know that for some the transition to civilian life can be difficult and far too many veterans struggle with poor mental health and substance misuse.

“The success of Right Turn demonstrates there is an important role for peer support in helping veterans’ recovery.

“I hope that policy makers in both national and local government take note of this research and work to expand access to veteran-specific services, recognising the significant benefits it has brought to veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life.”

Dr Katherine Albertson, who led the research for Sheffield Hallam’s HKC, said: “Without exception, all of the veteran participants reported enjoying their time in the military. They talked of a sense of achievement, unique experiences, learning to embrace different structures and expectations of the military identity.

“The Right Turn project operates on the assertion that the comradeship and mutual resilience underpinning military life can be redirected to support recovery and desistance journeys through peer support which enables engagement in community and social activities.”

Jon Murray, Associate Director at Addaction, said: “Right Turn was launched by ex-service staff at Addaction who understood that the experiences of people who served in the Army, Navy or Air Force could be both an asset and a barrier to recovery. It was conceived by veterans for veterans, and that’s how it still works today.

“As this important report shows, it’s having a profound impact. We’re proud of the results shown here, and pleased to have such clear evidence that the Right Turn approach should be expanded further. Behind these findings are individual people’s lives, each with hopes and aspirations for the future. We’re delighted that Right Turn is helping to make them a reality.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Following service in the Armed Forces, a small but measurable number of people struggle to transition into civilian life and can turn to addiction when trying to cope with these pressures. It can be very difficult for such vulnerable people to have the confidence to speak up and ask for help. In some cases they may not even be aware that such help is available, which of course is why we very much welcome the launch of the Veterans Gateway earlier this week, at least in part as a response to one of our earlier research projects.

“This independent evaluation of Addaction’s Right Turn programme provides an evidence base that demonstrates the significant impact that it has made in helping vulnerable ex-Service personnel make steps towards leading fulfilling civilian lives.

“We are naturally pleased that the project has been shown to have had a positive impact on those using the Right Turn services, but in truth the hard work starts now. How can we secure the sustainable delivery of veteran-specific programmes such as Right Turn? I hope all service providers and policy makers will read the report and consider how they can work towards positive change in this area.”

Read the report here.

ENDS

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email m.webb@shu.ac.uk.

Notes to editors

About Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University is one of the largest universities in the UK, with more than 31,500 students.

It is one of the country’s largest providers of health and social care courses, teacher training, and sport and physical activity courses. It is also home to the UK’s largest modern business school.

Its courses are designed and delivered in close partnership with employers, professional associations and practice specialists to ensure that the skills our students develop are relevant.

As one of the UK’s most progressive universities, providing opportunity through widening participation is at the heart of the University. 96 per cent of its young full-time undergraduate UK students are from state schools/colleges and 41 per cent are from low income backgrounds.

Sheffield Hallam’s research is characterised by a focus on real world impact – addressing the cultural, economic and social challenges facing society today. 65 per cent of its research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework.

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/

New Forces in Mind Trust Report: UK Armed Forces veterans may be more at risk of developing problem gambling

In a new report released today (21 June) by Swansea University and funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), preliminary findings suggest UK veterans may be at an increased risk of developing gambling problems than non-veterans, and that this vulnerability may be related to prior experience of traumatic events.

The report, entitled ‘Gambling in Armed Forces Veterans: Results from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey of England’, was conducted by Professor Simon Dymond and Elystan Roberts of the Department of Psychology at Swansea University, and colleagues from Bangor University, Anglia Ruskin University and Veterans NHS Wales.  It represents the first-ever exploration of the nature and extent of problem gambling in UK veterans, and was launched at the Excessive Gambling Wales 2017 conference in Cardiff today.

Findings consistent with international evidence include those showing elevated rates of problem gambling in armed forces veterans compared to civilian populations.  Key findings include:

  • UK Armed Forces veterans are more than eight times as likely to exhibit problem gambling (1.41%) than non-veterans (0.17%);
  • Male veterans are more likely than male non-veterans to have experienced a traumatic event (a potential contributor to problem gambling being more prevalent amongst ex-Service personnel); and
  • UK veterans have a tendency towards risk-taking, which may explain a greater susceptibility to developing gambling problems.

Some findings, however, diverged from wider research; for example, results from this study did not show that veteran status and problem gambling could be explained by differences in mental health conditions, substance abuse, or financial mismanagement.

The research was based on an analysis of data from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey; a survey series which is used to provide data on psychiatric disorders in the community-dwelling adult population in England (ie the survey does not cover those homeless at the time, in care homes, or in psychiatric institutions). From the assessed survey data of 5,358 participants, 257 were military veterans. The research, which is currently undergoing peer review, acknowledges that further research is now required using a larger sample of veterans, with specific questions on pre-service mental health, details of participants armed forces careers, and a focus on problem gambling.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The findings of this report indicate that, at least within the limitations of this data set, some significant difference has been shown in the level of problem gambling in UK Armed Forces veterans when compared to the general population. The findings and recommendations of this report are instrumental in informing the need for future research into this important issue. It is clear that a wider evidence base is needed to enable policy makers and service deliverers to better identify suitable and timely treatment interventions that ultimately will aid any ex-Service personnel suffering from gambling-related problems in their transition to civilian life.”

Professor Simon Dymond said: “This report marks an important first step in researching gambling related problems in the UK Armed Forces. Previous international research from the USA and Australia has shown higher rates of problem gambling among Armed Forces populations, but this is the first time this phenomenon has been identified in a UK sample. Given the growing public health challenges posed by problem gambling, this is a crucial finding. We hope that future research will use this report to start a conversation about the need to assess and understand problem gambling in the UK Armed Forces in greater detail.”

Read the report here.

ENDS

Ray Lock is available for interviews. To arrange an interview please contact Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944, or Jack Rodway at jrodway@theproffice.com or on 0207 7284 6961. Professor Simon Dymond is available for interview. To arrange please contact Delyth Purchase d.purchase@swansea.ac.uk or 01792 513022.

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 Swansea University:

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 is ranked the top university in Wales and is currently The Times and The Sunday Times ‘Welsh University of the Year’. It is also ranked within the top 350 best universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University rankings.

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

For more information, please contact Delyth Purchase Swansea University Public Relations Office.Tel: 01792 513022, or email:  d.purchase@swansea.ac.uk

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