RAND Europe, a public policy research organisation, has released a study commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), that looks at how resilience can affect the transition experiences of Service Leavers…

Findings from the study reveal that the role of resilience is mixed: while resilience can help Service leavers handle the challenges of civilian life, in some cases ‘can-do’ military attitudes can prevent individuals from seeking the support they need.

The research identifies a number of related factors – including peer support, fulfilling employment and good mental health – that can contribute to successful transition experiences.

The report identifies the need to record data on Service leavers in a more detailed and standardised way. This would support a more nuanced understanding of why some people struggle with transition more than others. It would also help identify what works in support provision and allow support initiatives to be tailored more effectively to Service leavers in a range of different circumstances.

Applicable lessons for Service leavers can be identified from civilian comparator groups also experiencing transitions, such as bereaved individuals, ex-prisoners or foster care leavers.

Recommendations from the report include:

  • Data collection on Service leaver resilience and transition should be systematised, and information sharing practices improved. Supporting this recommendation, the report presents a template designed to capture data on Service leavers’ demographic backgrounds and circumstances of departure. This would support the development of more targeted policy and support for Service leavers
  • Policymakers and service providers should continue to develop support mechanisms designed to prepare personnel for transition before as well as at and after the point of departure
  • Coordinated support across different areas of transition (e.g. housing, employment, mental health) should be offered to UK Service leavers in recognition of the links between challenges associated with transition

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “One of the founding principles of the Forces in Mind Trust is to enable all ex-Service personnel to have a positive and sustainable transition back into civilian life. The very essence of the research undertaken by RAND Europe and condensed into the report released today, only seek to further aid the people who find the transition pathway a challenge.

“Of course, the responsibility is not just that of the individual, which is why the recommendations and areas of further research are important to note. I would urge the stakeholders and service providers to take on board the advice within this valuable report.”