A mental health toolkit, MIND Fitness, specifically designed for ex-Service personnel, is to be developed thanks to funding from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).
MIND Fitness will help overcome the barriers Service leavers have in seeking mental health support, enabling them to identify whether they are suffering from a mental health issue (particularly depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder), to empower them to monitor their own mental health, to recognise whether support might be helpful before they reach a crisis point, and to educate them on the wealth of support available.
King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) has been awarded £221,811 over two years to develop the toolkit.
The project builds on the recommendations of the earlier FiMT-funded KCMHR Stigma and Barriers to Care project, with the team now planning to design a practical tool to aid ex-Service personnel in identifying and managing their own mental health as a prevention strategy. It is hoped that this tool will be adopted by a range of other charities, service providers and the NHS, and ultimately have a positive impact on post-Service transition to civilian life.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Previous FiMT research has identified a variety of barriers to help seeking in the ex-Service community. Evidence shows the decision to ask for help is mainly affected by the perceived need for treatment. The toolkit being developed by King’s Centre for Military Health Research will encourage the user to independently identify their need for support and importantly where they can access it.
“We know that ex-Service personnel access services that are tailored to their needs, and where there is an understanding of the culture of the Armed Forces. This is a very important development in the management of mental health in the ex-Service community, which is vital to enabling a successful and sustainable transition.”
Dr Laura Rafferty, King’s Centre for Military Health Research, said: “We are excited to start this project which aims to develop a toolkit to target early identification and management of mental health distress in military veterans. The toolkit will provide a level of self-help to enable veterans to cope independently and provide simple information about where to seek more formal support, to both improve their quality of life and encourage veterans to seek support before they reach a crisis point.
“We are looking forward to collaborating with military veterans and stakeholders to ensure that the toolkit will fit the needs of military veterans and compliment the other services currently available to military veterans in the UK.”