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Forces in Mind Trust announces a further three years of funding to the Contact Group

Forces in Mind Trust has awarded a further 3 years’ funding to the Contact Group (Contact) to provide the financial stability the Group requires to build on their collaborative work across UK military mental health policy, treatment and research.

Following the considerable progress of Contact’s work over the past two years (funded through an initial 2-year Forces in Mind Trust grant in 2019), a £92,000 grant has been awarded for 2022-2024.

Contact Group is the UK collaboration of statutory and non-statutory (charity, academic and professional) organisations working to improve mental health support to the UK Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their families.

To date, Contact’s key achievements have included, among others:

  • Establishing the Quality Network for Veterans Mental Health Services with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, to improve and assure the quality of mental healthcare available to veterans and their families
  • Progressing the group’s work on information-sharing to improve the veteran’s journey within and between mental health and other services via a Common Assessment Framework, led by NHS England, and a potential Veterans’ Mental Health Information System, co-chaired with Cobseo
  • Progressing the development of the Contact data dashboard with resources from the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, to help identify high level trends in the demand for veterans’ mental health services across the statutory and charity sectors.

Contact plans over the next 3 years include continuing the projects described above, as well as the group’s work on research related to military mental health, its associate membership programme, and its website and other communications channels, including online and in-person events.

As the Contact Group is not a legal entity, a member organisation acts as host, rotating every two years. Help for Heroes will be hosting the Contact Group again from 2022, taking over from Combat Stress.

Thomas McBarnet, Director of Programmes at Forces in Mind Trust, said

“Collaboration is at the heart of Forces in Mind Trust’s work. Few embody this as much as the Contact Group, which does a fantastic job of drawing people from our sector together to achieve change. We have been impressed to see the impact the Contact Group has had with the first two years of FiMT funding, and we are delighted to be able to fund their work for a further three years.”

Charles Winstanley, Independent Chair of Contact, said

“This very welcome three year funding validates the progress of the Contact Group in supporting veteran mental health, and provides us with the confidence to initiate work that exploits this funded period. Thank you FiMT!”

Lis Skeet, Director of Services at Help for Heroes, said

“Having founded the Contact Group, we are delighted that the Group will continue collaborating on UK military mental health policy, treatment and research – thanks to this additional funding from FiMT. By working together we can identify and address gaps in support and policy, as well as increase our collective understanding of the Armed Forces Community.”

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