Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds of £154,198.23 to the University of Liverpool and King’s College London, to conduct a 15-month study into understanding which ex-Service personnel are more likely to recognise that they have an alcohol problem, and then who goes on to seek help for it…

Evidence already available shows high levels of alcohol misuse in ex-Service personnel, which is worsened by the fact that many do not recognise they have a problem, and of those who do, most do not seek help.

This project will help fill a number of research gaps:

  • (i) What factors determine whether ex-serving personnel recognise an alcohol problem
  • (ii) Which ex-serving personnel are more likely to seek help for an alcohol problem, and is help seeking more or less likely in those with a comorbid mental health problem
  • (iii) Is help seeking for a mental health problem less likely in ex-serving personnel who also have an alcohol problem.

Researchers will analyse data already collected by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, part of King’s College London, from a large sample of ex-Service personnel, resulting in one of the first studies of how having both an alcohol and a mental health problem influences help seeking in ex-Service personnel.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We know through existing evidence that that there are high levels of alcohol misuse by ex-Service personnel, and that for the most part, this vulnerable group do not seek help. This project will fill some of the important gaps in research around recognising problem alcohol use and encouraging help seeking, together with determining what impact mental health issues may have.

“It is the purpose of FiMT to enable all ex-Service personnel and their families to have a successful and sustainable transition back into civilian life, and this timely research from the University of Liverpool and King’s College London will make a singular and important contribution to our mission.”

Dr Laura Goodwin, from the University of Liverpool, said: “Whilst it is established that alcohol misuse is common in ex-serving personnel, little is known about why help is often not sought. This study will provide much needed information on which ex-serving personnel are less likely seek help and the characteristics of those most in need of support.”