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New Forces in Mind Trust Award: University of Liverpool and King’s College London to research help seeking for alcohol and mental health comorbidity in the Armed Forces

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds of £154,198.23 to the University of Liverpool and King’s College London, to conduct a 15-month study into understanding which ex-Service personnel are more likely to recognise that they have an alcohol problem, and then who goes on to seek help for it.

Evidence already available shows high levels of alcohol misuse in ex-Service personnel, which is worsened by the fact that many do not recognise they have a problem, and of those who do, most do not seek help.

This project will help fill a number of research gaps: (i) What factors determine whether ex-serving personnel recognise an alcohol problem, (ii) Which ex-serving personnel are more likely to seek help for an alcohol problem, and is help seeking more or less likely in those with a comorbid mental health problem, and (iii) Is help seeking for a mental health problem less likely in ex-serving personnel who also have an alcohol problem.

Researchers will analyse data already collected by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, part of King’s College London, from a large sample of ex-Service personnel, resulting in one of the first studies of how having both an alcohol and a mental health problem influences help seeking in ex-Service personnel.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We know through existing evidence that that there are high levels of alcohol misuse by ex-Service personnel, and that for the most part, this vulnerable group do not seek help.  This project will fill some of the important gaps in research around recognising problem alcohol use and encouraging help seeking, together with determining what impact mental health issues may have.

“It is the purpose of FiMT to enable all ex-Service personnel and their families to have a successful and sustainable transition back into civilian life, and this timely research from the University of Liverpool and King’s College London will make a singular and important contribution to our mission.”

Dr Laura Goodwin, from the University of Liverpool, said: “Whilst it is established that alcohol misuse is common in ex-serving personnel, little is known about why help is often not sought. This study will provide much needed information on which ex-serving personnel are less likely seek help and the characteristics of those most in need of support.”

-ENDS-

Note to Editor:  Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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

About the Mental Health Research Programme: www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme/

University of Liverpool

Associated with nine Nobel Laureates, the University is recognised for its high-quality teaching and research. Our research collaborations extend worldwide and address many of the grand challenges facing mankind today.

About King’s College London kcl.ac.uk

King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2017/18 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King’s has more than 26,500 students (of whom nearly 10,400 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and nearly 6,900 staff. The university is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

King’s has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King’s was ranked 6th nationally in the ‘power’ ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings. Eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*). The university is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of more than £600 million.