Academic research by the University of Southampton has investigated the effect of the Warrior Programme in reducing functional difficulties associated with emotional distress and stressful events in ex-Service personnel. The findings of this research will be presented at an event on 29th June at HMS President, London.
A Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) by Southampton University, involving 52 participants, researched and validated the techniques the Warrior Programme uses to change individual attitudes and behaviour. These findings were then peer-reviewed by Professors Fear and Greenberg of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College London.
The results of the RCT show that those participants who received the Warrior Programme reported improvements in their functioning and emotional well-being at the end of the three day course. However, during the three-month follow up period, improvement, although still statistically significant on most measures, was reduced. It is possible that the initial improvements made during the Warrior Programme could be strengthened by suitable ‘top up’ sessions; whether this approach would work would need to be examined in a further trial.
When activity was reviewed one year after beneficiaries took part in the Warrior Programme, 52% of those who were originally unemployed and not looking for work were now in employment or training. Those who took part in the study found that their improved situations enhanced their ability to function, including the capacity to engage with statutory services.
The Warrior Programme teaches veterans tools and strategies to manage their emotions, to reduce anxiety and fear, and to improve their confidence in order to acquire focus and clarity for the future. The training begins to instil confidence and resilience, enabling participants to engage more effectively with other agencies to meet transition needs relating to housing, welfare and employment, and ultimately leading to independence.
The results of the RCT have demonstrated the effectiveness of the Warrior Programme and provide evidence-based research from which other services can benefit.
Charlotte Cole, Warrior’s Founder Trustee, said: “This is a low-cost intervention which can prevent problems escalating, with huge emotional and financial costs for individuals, government and society at large. Our work potentially has far wider applications, as part of mainstream veteran support, and even beyond. This country is very generous in helping its obvious heroes. Here we have a way which is now proven to help the less obvious casualties of war, too.”
Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust says: “The Warrior Programme should be congratulated for electing to bring Southampton University in to provide an independent evaluation, and also for subjecting their findings to peer review by King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College London. As a Trust whose aim is to provide an evidence base that will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery, deciding whether to fund this research was not difficult for us.
“We are therefore delighted that the bold step the Warrior Programme took has been repaid by a positive outcome – ex-Service personnel do indeed benefit from this intervention. The challenge I would now place before the Warrior Programme is not just to build upon these findings and ensure a sustainably funded throughput of candidates, but also to continue the search for evidence of long-term benefit.”
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- About the Forces in Mind Trust: The Forces in Mind Trust came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery 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. Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
- During its first two years, FiMT has commissioned seminal research reports such as the Transition Mapping Study (TMS) which reviewed how the entire transition process from military to civilian life currently works and how it is viewed by stakeholders and recent Service leavers. The economic model developed for the report calculated the total cost of poor transition to the UK as a whole to be £113 million in 2012, whilst the report itself has been discussed across Whitehall and debated in the House of Lords.
- Useful links
- About The Warrior Programme
The Warrior Programme was established in 2007. To date, over 900 people have benefited from the programme including around 700 veterans. The Warrior Programme is designed to help veterans who are experiencing such problems adjusting to civilian life which can include: anxiety and depression, isolation, loss of independent living skills, shattered confidence and resilience, domestic crisis and homelessness, anti-social and criminal behaviour, unemployment and poor health. http://www.warriorprogramme.org.uk/