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22 November 2023

King's Centre for Military Health Research and Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre host Australian Minister of Veterans' Affairs

Australian government delegation met with centres' researchers to hear about the ongoing work and support for veterans.

780x440 Australian Minister Visit 1

As part of their visit to the UK for Armistice Day, a delegation from the Australian government including the Honourable Matt Keogh Minister of Veterans’ Affairs and Minster for Defence Personnel, met with researchers from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) and the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre (FiMT Research Centre) to hear about both centres’ research and support for veterans.

The Australian delegation consisted of the Minister and his colleagues, Ms Alison Frame (Secretary of the Australian Government Department for Veterans’ Affairs), Ms Catherine Bergin (Chief of Staff to Minister Keogh) and Flight Lieutenant Katherine Mitchell (Aide-de-Camp to Minister Keogh). Researchers from KCMHR included Professors Nicola Fear, Neil Greenberg and Sir Simon Wessely, while the FiMT Research Centre was represented by Dr Mary Keeling, Research Manager for the centre.

Dr Keeling shared details on the crucial work of the FiMT Research Centre, and how it translates to real-world impact for veterans and their families. She introduced the Minister to the key objectives of the trust, including providing a repository of latest academic and policy orientated research and evidence on veterans and their families, offering advice to FiMT and other stakeholders, producing research on issues of key interest to the sector and an annual conference bringing all aspects together.

It was a pleasure to be invited to share with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs the work we do at the FiMT Research Centre as we work towards our goal of putting evidence at the heart of decision making for veterans and their families. Having an international reach and sharing ideas with our international colleagues is a key part of what we do and enables us to be connected to those with a shared goal and presents opportunities for learning and growth.

Dr Mary Keeling, Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre

Beginning discussions from KCMHR, Professor Sir Simon Wessely presented the existing connections the Centre has with relevant organisations within Australia, and the opportunities possible through widening these connections. He emphasised the broad reach of the work of the Centre, connecting with veterans, their families and the public and shared some history on the origins of the Centre, and the catalyst for its formation in 1996.

Professor Nicola Fear talked about the tools and innovations of the Centre including resources and apps which both collect data and offer support to the users. The Centre also contributes to Ministry of Defence strategy, international policy and mental health services available for Veterans.

We are very proud of the work being done with KCMHR, and of the impact of this research. It was great to be able to share this with the Minister and his team and discuss the connections that exist and are growing between the UK and Australia in this area, and the potential for future research and collaboration.

Professor Nicola Fear, Director of King’s Centre for Military Health Research at IoPPN

The impact of the work of the centre was a primary focus of discussions, as Professor Neil Greenberg talked about how the work can help to inform the benefit and support structure for veterans, elements that policy across the UK and Australia align on, and where further research and understanding is needed.

The King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) is the leading civilian UK centre of excellence for research with the Armed Forces Community. Independent of the Ministry of Defence, Office for Veterans’ Affairs and chain of command, research from the Centre has provided much-needed evidence on the health and well-being of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

The Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre curates a free and accessible evidence base of research into ex-Service personnel and their families. It provides an accessible and authoritative evidence base exploring transition from military to civilian life, that will inform policy and practice affecting ex-Service personnel and their families in the UK.

For more information contact the IoPPN Communications Team

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