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Ex-Service personnel, employment and mental health – CLOSES 31 October 2017

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) in collaboration with Centre for Mental Health and King’s Centre for Military Health Research, a part of King’s College London, is issuing a highlight notice under FiMT’s Mental Health Research Programme (MHRP) as part of an initiative to encourage high quality research in the field of veterans’ mental health. The aim of this highlight notice is to encourage applications that propose innovative ways to identify, evaluate and/or propose new methods of improving employment/under-employment in former UK Armed Forces personnel with mental ill-health.

Employment is vital to health and should be recognised as a health outcome. The employment rates for adults with mental health problems contrasts with the general population: with 43% of all people with mental health problems in employment, compared to 74% of the general population and 65% of people with other health conditions (Department of Health, 2016). The employment rate of people with severe and enduring mental health problems is just 7.3% (HSCIC, 2013). Whilst the majority of ex-Service personnel do well after transitioning from military to civilian life, for some, the return to civilian life can be difficult (Centre for Mental Health, 2016; Pinder et. al, 2011). Findings from the literature support this assessment, with UK veteran unemployment rates varying from 6% to 19.5%, depending on the cohort of personnel reviewed (Pinder et. al, 2011; HM Government, 2007; Iverson et. al., 2005; Hotopf et al., 2003). When the relationship between unemployment and mental ill-health is considered in the general population, there appears to be a causal link both ways (Centre for Mental Health, 2013). People with mental health problems are much less likely to be in paid employment (Rinaldi et al., 2011) and people who have been unemployed for at least six months are more likely to develop depression or other mental health conditions (Diette et al., 2012).

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