One of our key research priorities is:
Alcohol and substance misuse, including effective and appropriate interventions.

A report entitled ‘The mental health of serving and ex-Service personnel review’, published in 2013 by us, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, identified that further research into alcohol misuse should be a first priority for Veterans’ Mental Health, describing it as a ‘major public health issue’ (view the report). A further report, ‘Call to Mind’, published in 2015 in collaboration with NHS England and Community Innovations Enterprise, found that stakeholders perceived alcohol problems among veterans to be ‘under reported and less recognised’ and missing from current literature (view the report, pages 29-30 refer to alcohol and substance misuse).

Whilst the issue of alcohol consumption among UK serving and veteran communities has been documented, ‘The mental health of serving and ex-Service personnel review’ highlights a need to address the causes of alcohol consumption, the effectiveness of alcohol-related interventions, and the relationship of alcohol consumption to other mental health conditions, as well as addressing issues of long term misuse and dependency. The report also notes a lack of existing evidence on other types of substance misuse beyond alcohol; for example, recreational drug use, self-medication, and misuse of prescription medicines or “body enhancement” substances.

These gaps in evidence have led to our Mental Health Research Programme identifying this area as one of the key research priorities.