Forces in Mind Trust awards £500,000 to the ADVANCE Study to explore military to civilian transition experiences of combat veterans

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £500,000 to the ADVANCE Study Charity over the next five years, as part of a ground-breaking 20-year project exploring outcomes for battlefield casualties in the UK Armed Forces.

The ADVANCE Study (The Armed Service Trauma Rehabilitation Outcome Study) is a collaboration between the Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation (ADMR, Stanford Hall), Imperial College London and King’s College London. It is the first comprehensive long-term cohort study to investigate the physical and psycho-social outcomes of battlefield casualties. Previous research into the long-term outcomes of Vietnam or World War II veterans have been inconclusive or focused on narrow criteria, resulting in the need for a methodologically robust cohort study. As such, the study is focused on those deployed in Afghanistan with the UK Armed Forces between 2002 and 2014, and will take place over a 20-year period.

The longitudinal study has recently reached a significant milestone, having finished recruiting the full cohort of 1145 participants, 567 in a ‘battlefield trauma group’ and 578 in an ‘uninjured group’. The funding from FiMT will provide an additional staff member, enabling the research team to investigate the military to civilian transition experiences and outcomes of the cohort of battle casualties in detail, including their well-being, quality of life and mental health.

The study is currently funded by the UK Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes, a LIBOR grant from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Headley Court Charity, Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown and Blesma.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, said:

“FiMT is proud to be part of such an important study, and particularly one which demonstrates the power of collaboration in our sector. The ADVANCE study will help us to understand the long-term impact of battlefield injuries for UK ex-Service personnel, and aims to improve the success of their transition in the long-term, where our funding will be focused. The outcomes of the study will have implications for policy, practice and service delivery. This sits firmly within our mission to use a strong evidence base to improve transition to civilian life for ex-Service personnel. This ground-breaking study could set the agenda for transition for ex-Service personnel for many years to come.”

Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL, Chair of the Advance Charity, said:

“We are extremely grateful to have been awarded this funding from FiMT to look into military to civilian transition of the ADVANCE cohort. Investigating psychosocial outcomes of injured and uninjured combat veterans is an important aspect of the ADVANCE Study, and the King’s project will add to this. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this project funded by FiMT will have on the lives of our servicemen and their families in years to come.”

Professor Nicola Fear, from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) at King’s College London, said:

“KCMHR has been involved in the ADVANCE study since its inception and we are excited to be leading this additional project focusing on transition. The findings from this work will provide evidence to understand how service personnel who have experienced physical injuries as a result of their deployment manage after leaving the military community and the influences on their longer term health and wellbeing.”

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