May 2017

22nd – 28th May 2017

Research finds a Delay in Veterans Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Misuse

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Research, from Combat Stress in collaboration with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the Kings Centre for Military Health Research, suggests that veterans suffering from alcohol addiction are not seeking help early enough and on average do not receive help for alcohol issues until they reach their sixties. It was more common for veterans to be treated for physical health difficulties prior to being referred to hospital for alcohol issues. Although the data gathered suggests veterans and non-veterans do not differ in terms of severity of alcohol misuse, veterans were also more likely to be admitted to hospital for longer periods of time, for their alcohol addictions. These results indicate a need to not only encourage veterans to seek help for their alcohol misuse but to also support and assist veterans in engaging with specialist services for effective and early intervention. The full article can be accessed here.

A Comparison between Veterans and Non-Veterans in Seeking Health Care

Research published from the United States, in the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, reports that military veterans, in comparison to the general public, are more likely to delay seeking medical care. Data suggests that from 2010-2011, 17.2% of the general public delayed seeking necessary care compared with 29% of veterans. The results were significant even after controlling for personal factors and region, suggesting it may be that there are necessary improvements needed to be made to the Veterans’ healthcare system in terms of providing encouragement and support with accessing treatment. Furthermore, the tendency for veterans to delay seeking treatment may be part of the military mind-set. Further research is necessary to highlight the specific factors that may be causing such results. The article can be found here.

15th – 21st May 2017

Demobbed: the psychological reality of veteran transition in the UK

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On the 16th May 2017, Forces in Mind Trust supported Queen Mary University of London, who hosted a conference discussing veterans, who have experienced psychological trauma during conflict, are able to transition back into civilian society. This event included talks by national and international researchers, policy makers and commentators, including Kate Davies OBE (NHS England), Matthew Green (journalist and author) and Professor Edgar Jones (Kings College London).

To read our review of this conference, please click here.

To find out more about Matthew Green’s book and research, click here.

Latest Research Suggests a Genetic Influences Play a Role in the Risk of Developing PTSD

Some people may develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event, but is it only environmental factors that contribute to one’s susceptibility to the disorder? Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, United States, recently conducted a genetic study of 20,730 people from around the world. They found that PTSD likely has a genetic component, meaning that some people may be at a higher risk of developing PTSD based on their genetic configuration. Interestingly, females were found to be at a higher risk than males. Although the latter finding requires further investigation, it is also possible that as compared to males, females are simply more likely to report their symptoms. Furthermore, the study also demonstrated that individuals with a high susceptibility to several mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, were also at an increased risk for developing PTSD. Understanding better the genetic predisposition of PTSD could be the answer to developing interventions that target the disorder more effectively.

The study has been published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry and can be accessed here.

The Contact Website Provides Mental Health Support for the Military Community


Contact is a group of charities working with the MoD and the NHS to develop simplified access to mental health support services for the military community. They have recently relaunched their website that provides an even easier access to assistance. The partners involved in Contact include Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, Walking with the Wounded, Big White Wall, The Royal British Legion, Cobseo, King’s College London, the Ministry of Defence, NHS England, Veterans NHS Wales, Veterans First Point and The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

8th – 14th May 2017

Army Families Federation Research Symposium


The Army Families Federation (AFF) is hosting a Research Symposium on the 5th June at Guy’s Campus, King’s College London. The event aims to focus on core issues surrounding Army families in order to guide further research developments and to better understand this cohort. Dr Rachael Gribble, from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, alongside other key speakers from the Army, Ministry of Defence and AFF will contribute to outlining the key themes such as military children, spousal employment and mental wellbeing.

The Impact of Separation- A Research Study supported by The Naval Families Federation


The Naval Families Federation, together with The King’s Centre for Military Health Research and Greenwich Hospital, are conducting a research study examining the impact of separation, resulting not from operational deployment, but from ‘weekending’, training (e.g. BOST), exercises and other Service requirements that prevent the serving person from coming home. There will be opportunities for families to tell their ‘lived experiences’ and the first part of the study is an online survey available at the following link: (the survey is only for those who are a spouse/partner of a currently Serving member of the Royal Navy or Royal Marines).

Recent Study suggests Veterans with PTSD exhibit Deficits in Attentional Control and Emotional Processing

A study has recently been published in the Cambridge University Press Journal of Psychological Medicine by researchers from the United States. The study reports that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exhibit deficits in attentional control and emotional processing when attending to traumatic cues in contrast to veterans without PTSD who were able to regulate their emotion by directing their attention away from the threatening stimulus.

The full report can be accessed via the link here.

1st May – 7th May 2017

The 2016 Defence Medical Welfare Service Impact Report has been Published


For over 70 years, The St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) have been providing impartial medical welfare support to the Armed Forces community and other Frontline staff. They are a charitable organisation that provides practical and emotional support to individuals who are receiving clinical care. With the help of the welfare team, interventions aim to accelerate recovery and contribute to an earlier return to work rate.

The full report from 2016 can be accessed via the link here.

Combat Stress Launch a 24-hour Support Service for Veterans and their Families


Combat Stress has recently launched the Veterans’ Gateway. The Gateway creates an initial point of contact for Veterans and their families who are seeking advice and support. Since the gateway is extensively connected to a network of expert partners, the platform will allow users to receive the appropriate support quickly and easily.

The official public launch will be on the 25th May 2017 and the support will be accessible 24/7 here.

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