• Defence Committee: Armed Forces and Veterans Mental Health Inquiry. Part One

      Kiernan, Matthew; Finnegan, Alan; Hill, Mick; University of Northumbria (Crown, 2018-07-12)
      Executive Summary • MoD provides an occupational military mental health service, where clinical decisions are safety critical due to the environment in which armed forces personnel operate. • Statistics provided from defense are accurate, however, trying to contextualise them by comparing them with the wider population is problematic, as the threshold for referral is much lower. • Only 8% of UK veterans were correctly registered at a PHC practice. • Military mental health practice is unique, and to understand the issues facing current service provision, the statistical data needs to be annually supplemented with purposeful qualitative data from those working in defence mental health. • A priority should be afforded to the inclusion of veteran peer researchers within studies to improve sample selection, interpretation and understanding of results. • There needs to be an agenda to broaden methodological expertise and cooperation within the sector and a move away from a predominately one-dimensional research approach. The only way that the questions in this enquiry will be answered, is through a multiple methods and multiple institution collaboration.
    • Defence Committee: Armed Forces and Veterans Mental Health Inquiry. Part Two. The Provision of Care

      Finnegan, Alan; University of Chester; University of Northumbria (Crown, 2018-09-11)
      Executive Summary * Effective Military Mental Health care requires practitioners with extensive knowledge of service provision and structures, and who have the correct clinical competencies that are underpinned by academic qualification/s and experience. * Veterans are a heterogeneous group, differing by factors such as age, gender and length of service. These factors are extremely important during transition, and initiatives to support ex-Service personnel and their families are hindered through a lack of understanding of the veteran community. * NHS Mental Health care provision is extensive and comprehensive, although is areas such as Northern Ireland, it is Combat Stress that provide bespoke veteran care options, funded through charitable contributions. * Many veterans are unaware of their entitlement to priority medical services, or the wider provisions available to them. * Veterans are unwilling to disclose problems associated with their former military life, often believing that civilians, including healthcare professionals, do not appreciate military culture and “cannot understand” their experiences. * Receiving quick, appropriate support requires GPs and other healthcare professionals having sufficient awareness of the NHS and veteran specific services, and on the patients MH condition being correctly identified. * Stressors identified during the transition period are just as likely to negatively impact on the spouse and family. * There is an assumption that the small local veteran charities may be doing harm, although there is limited evidence to substantiate this view, and there is a requirement to understand why some veterans prefer this option