Funding awarded to research investigating prevalence of mental health disorders in veterans

Forces in Mind Trust has awarded £110,000 to the University of Chester for a new project comparing the prevalence of common mental health disorders (CMD) in veteran and non-veteran populations in the UK.

The research project, A Comparative Study of Common Mental Health Disorders in the Veteran and Non-Veteran Populations, will be led by Professor Alan Finnegan at the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans, based at the University of Chester. CMDs include depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse, substance misuse and PTSD.

The project follows the successful ‘Where are all the veterans’ study from the same research team, which identified simple and effective ways for GP practices to identify veterans and encourage their registration with GPs. The study, which concluded in 2022, saw veteran registration increase by 218% at the 12 GP practices in North West England which took part. The researchers also examined the data on levels of CMDs, and found a significantly higher prevalence of CMDs in veterans than expected. This new project will build on this research, improving understanding of the prevalence of CMDs in the veteran population.

Tom McBarnet, Chief Executive (Acting) of Forces in Mind Trust, said

“The findings of the ‘Where Are All the Veterans’ study were extremely helpful in finding effective ways to identify veterans and their registration in primary healthcare settings. The researchers also found signs of a considerable difference in CMD prevalence between veterans in this sample, and existing prevalence statistics. It’s important to determine if this discrepancy is confirmed in a more accurate study, and if so, to explore why this may be the case. We are pleased to be supporting Professor Finnegan and his team to be able to find out more about the mental health of veterans in the UK.”

Professor Alan Finnegan, from the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans at the University of Chester, said

“We are delighted to receive funding from FiMT to develop the pioneering work carried out in the ‘Where are all the Veterans’ study. We will compare the clinical data from veteran and non-veteran populations, and this will tell us whether the mental health services that are currently available meet the needs of veterans. Ultimately this will identify gaps in healthcare provision and result in improved services.”

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