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Investigating increases in PTSD among ex-serving personnel who deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds of £83,162 to King’s College London (King’s) to investigate the increase in PTSD among ex-Service personnel who deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.

An ongoing MOD funded study by King’s indicates that, of those deployed, the lowest reported levels of PTSD is found in those still serving in the Armed Forces. The highest level is found in regular personnel who deployed in a combat role to Iraq and Afghanistan and subsequently left service.

Researchers on the 15-month study will provide a more in-depth understanding into why this ex-serving sub-group is at an increased risk, and how this might be addressed.

The project will use quantitative data to compare the course of PTSD symptoms over the past 10-14 years, and will look into the factors that influence these trajectories.

The qualitative component will enrich the statistical analysis by asking previously deployed ex-serving regular personnel about traumas encountered throughout their lives, factors placing them at risk and supporting resilience, whether they recognise having mental health problems and their experiences of leaving the military and help-seeking.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said: “It is clear from previous research that there is a difference in prevalence of PTSD among the ex-serving and serving personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. In line with FiMT’s third age, we seek to inform better understanding in areas where there is an evidence gap.”

“This study by King’s will enable us to influence policymakers and service providers to ensure that future combat personnel are at less risk of developing PTSD.”

Dr Sharon Stevelink, Lead Researcher, King’s College London, said: “We are excited to have been awarded this grant. Our study aims to explore the higher levels of PTSD in ex-serving personnel to ensure we understand why this group is at an increased risk, and how this could be addressed.”

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