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Peer support for Families of ex-Service personnel with Substance Use Problems

A model of peer support is being developed for families of ex-Service personnel with substance use problems thanks to funding of £108,713 by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

Researchers undertaking the 15-month project, at the University of York, seek to better understand the experiences and needs of the families of veterans who have substance use problems (FVSUs) through a thorough review of existing literature, and conducting interviews, focus groups and online surveys, ultimately working with the charity Adfam in the design of a new, bespoke model of peer support.

These activities will involve ex-Service personnel with substance use problems, the families of veterans with substance use problems, and service providers, to ensure a full range of experiences, needs and context is gathered.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Evidence shows that peer support is a successful support mechanism for individuals and groups coping with difficult circumstances. The range of methods and the scope of this study will ensure that a peer support model is specifically designed for this particular cohort.”

Charlie Lloyd, University of York, said: “There is a lot of evidence showing that families can be greatly affected by a loved one’s substance use and we also know that a relatively high proportion of veterans have problems with substance use. However, we know very little about the particular problems experienced by FVSUs. Our research will explore the experiences and needs of FVSUs and work with Adfam, family members and charities in the field to develop a peer support model designed to meet these needs.”

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