The Armed Forces Covenant is the nation’s commitment to Armed Forces personnel, acknowledging that their service means that they and their families should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy, and society they serve with their lives. King’s College London signed this Covenant in 2020 and has since received a Bronze Award for its work in this area.
As part of the Covenant, KCMHR continues to work to understand the mental health needs of veterans and their families.
One arm of this is the Health and Wellbeing Cohort study, which is entering its fourth phase. This latest phase of the study will follow-up participants from previous phases to examine how their health and wellbeing has changed over time. The primary aim of the fourth phase of the study is to explore, in detail, the experience of leaving the military and the ongoing health and wellbeing of current and former personnel. It is expected that many of those participating in the study will now have left the Armed Forces, therefore experiences of leaving and life after military service will be an important element in this phase. The team are currently recruiting participants and need service personnel and veterans to take part again to help the Armed Forces community.
Alongside this, there is a further study seeking to understand the mental health and wellbeing needs of families of Armed Forces veterans: The UK Veterans Family Study. The study is a collaboration between KCMHR and Queen’s University Belfast and will provide an opportunity for an often-overlooked group to share their experiences and to help impact change for current and future UK Armed Forces veteran families. Recruitment to the online survey for the UK Veterans Family Study is also ongoing. Partners and adult children of veterans, and veterans themselves are needed to take part.
The latest phase of the Health and Wellbeing Cohort Study and the UK Veterans Family Study emphasise our commitment to the Covenant. This research, among others in our department, support the University’s pledge to undertake research to better understand and improve the health and wellbeing of both serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families.– Professor Nicola Fear, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research