Transition from service to civvy street: the needs of armed forces veterans and their families in the UK

E. Fulton, D. Wild, J. Hancock, E. Fernandez, J. Linnane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims:
Although many veterans make the transition from military to civilian life without difficulty, a small proportion struggle due to an impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Stigma and a reluctance to seek help further exacerbate this problem. The Armed Forces Covenant outlines the importance of ensuring that public services are aware of the specific needs of veterans; however, evidence suggests that knowledge among professional staff may be limited.

Methods:
This exploratory study included three phases. Phase 1 (questionnaires) explored the needs of veterans and their families in Warwickshire (UK) regarding information about their health and wellbeing and the barriers and facilitators to accessing local public health services. Also in Phase 1, health and public services staff knowledge of veterans’ needs and the Covenant is explored. In Phase 2, both samples attended a related focus group for a more in-depth exploration of the issues identified in Phase 1; in order to inform a Phase 3 workshop to co-develop an intervention.

Results:
Veterans, their families and friends, wanted more information about what services do, how and when to access them and what to expect. Confusion over when to seek help for mental health ‘symptoms’ was highlighted. More support for families was identified, alongside a need for health and social care staff to have a better understanding of the unique experiences and needs of veterans. Only 35% of staff reported a good understanding of the Armed Forces Covenant and their responsibilities to uphold it.

Conclusions:
Public health teams within UK local authorities are well placed to ensure veterans have more knowledge about and access to public services. Interventions to address stigma and veterans’ reluctance to seek help were needed. To this end, interventions for local veterans, their loved ones and staff in public services, designed in co-creation with these groups, is discussed.

Keywords military medicine, mental health, health services, military veterans, inequalities, patient care
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalPerspectives in Public Health
Volume139
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Veterans
United States Public Health Service
Mental Health
Military Medicine
Military Family
Focus Groups
Health Services
Patient Care
Public Health
Delivery of Health Care
Education
Health

Keywords

  • health services
  • inequalities
  • mental health
  • military medicine
  • military veterans
  • patient care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Transition from service to civvy street : the needs of armed forces veterans and their families in the UK. / Fulton, E.; Wild, D.; Hancock, J.; Fernandez, E.; Linnane, J.

In: Perspectives in Public Health, Vol. 139, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 49-58.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Fulton, E. ; Wild, D. ; Hancock, J. ; Fernandez, E. ; Linnane, J. / Transition from service to civvy street : the needs of armed forces veterans and their families in the UK. In: Perspectives in Public Health. 2019 ; Vol. 139, No. 1. pp. 49-58.
@article{23f3a0c7c9aa424d9b51f48531d1beec,
title = "Transition from service to civvy street: the needs of armed forces veterans and their families in the UK",
abstract = "Aims:Although many veterans make the transition from military to civilian life without difficulty, a small proportion struggle due to an impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Stigma and a reluctance to seek help further exacerbate this problem. The Armed Forces Covenant outlines the importance of ensuring that public services are aware of the specific needs of veterans; however, evidence suggests that knowledge among professional staff may be limited.Methods:This exploratory study included three phases. Phase 1 (questionnaires) explored the needs of veterans and their families in Warwickshire (UK) regarding information about their health and wellbeing and the barriers and facilitators to accessing local public health services. Also in Phase 1, health and public services staff knowledge of veterans’ needs and the Covenant is explored. In Phase 2, both samples attended a related focus group for a more in-depth exploration of the issues identified in Phase 1; in order to inform a Phase 3 workshop to co-develop an intervention.Results:Veterans, their families and friends, wanted more information about what services do, how and when to access them and what to expect. Confusion over when to seek help for mental health ‘symptoms’ was highlighted. More support for families was identified, alongside a need for health and social care staff to have a better understanding of the unique experiences and needs of veterans. Only 35{\%} of staff reported a good understanding of the Armed Forces Covenant and their responsibilities to uphold it.Conclusions:Public health teams within UK local authorities are well placed to ensure veterans have more knowledge about and access to public services. Interventions to address stigma and veterans’ reluctance to seek help were needed. To this end, interventions for local veterans, their loved ones and staff in public services, designed in co-creation with these groups, is discussed.Keywords military medicine, mental health, health services, military veterans, inequalities, patient care",
keywords = "health services, inequalities, mental health, military medicine, military veterans, patient care",
author = "E. Fulton and D. Wild and J. Hancock and E. Fernandez and J. Linnane",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1757913918785650",
language = "English",
volume = "139",
pages = "49--58",
journal = "Perspectives in Public Health",
issn = "1757-9139",
publisher = "SAGE Publications",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Transition from service to civvy street

T2 - the needs of armed forces veterans and their families in the UK

AU - Fulton, E.

AU - Wild, D.

AU - Hancock, J.

AU - Fernandez, E.

AU - Linnane, J.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Aims:Although many veterans make the transition from military to civilian life without difficulty, a small proportion struggle due to an impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Stigma and a reluctance to seek help further exacerbate this problem. The Armed Forces Covenant outlines the importance of ensuring that public services are aware of the specific needs of veterans; however, evidence suggests that knowledge among professional staff may be limited.Methods:This exploratory study included three phases. Phase 1 (questionnaires) explored the needs of veterans and their families in Warwickshire (UK) regarding information about their health and wellbeing and the barriers and facilitators to accessing local public health services. Also in Phase 1, health and public services staff knowledge of veterans’ needs and the Covenant is explored. In Phase 2, both samples attended a related focus group for a more in-depth exploration of the issues identified in Phase 1; in order to inform a Phase 3 workshop to co-develop an intervention.Results:Veterans, their families and friends, wanted more information about what services do, how and when to access them and what to expect. Confusion over when to seek help for mental health ‘symptoms’ was highlighted. More support for families was identified, alongside a need for health and social care staff to have a better understanding of the unique experiences and needs of veterans. Only 35% of staff reported a good understanding of the Armed Forces Covenant and their responsibilities to uphold it.Conclusions:Public health teams within UK local authorities are well placed to ensure veterans have more knowledge about and access to public services. Interventions to address stigma and veterans’ reluctance to seek help were needed. To this end, interventions for local veterans, their loved ones and staff in public services, designed in co-creation with these groups, is discussed.Keywords military medicine, mental health, health services, military veterans, inequalities, patient care

AB - Aims:Although many veterans make the transition from military to civilian life without difficulty, a small proportion struggle due to an impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Stigma and a reluctance to seek help further exacerbate this problem. The Armed Forces Covenant outlines the importance of ensuring that public services are aware of the specific needs of veterans; however, evidence suggests that knowledge among professional staff may be limited.Methods:This exploratory study included three phases. Phase 1 (questionnaires) explored the needs of veterans and their families in Warwickshire (UK) regarding information about their health and wellbeing and the barriers and facilitators to accessing local public health services. Also in Phase 1, health and public services staff knowledge of veterans’ needs and the Covenant is explored. In Phase 2, both samples attended a related focus group for a more in-depth exploration of the issues identified in Phase 1; in order to inform a Phase 3 workshop to co-develop an intervention.Results:Veterans, their families and friends, wanted more information about what services do, how and when to access them and what to expect. Confusion over when to seek help for mental health ‘symptoms’ was highlighted. More support for families was identified, alongside a need for health and social care staff to have a better understanding of the unique experiences and needs of veterans. Only 35% of staff reported a good understanding of the Armed Forces Covenant and their responsibilities to uphold it.Conclusions:Public health teams within UK local authorities are well placed to ensure veterans have more knowledge about and access to public services. Interventions to address stigma and veterans’ reluctance to seek help were needed. To this end, interventions for local veterans, their loved ones and staff in public services, designed in co-creation with these groups, is discussed.Keywords military medicine, mental health, health services, military veterans, inequalities, patient care

KW - health services

KW - inequalities

KW - mental health

KW - military medicine

KW - military veterans

KW - patient care

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85049895103&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1757913918785650

DO - 10.1177/1757913918785650

M3 - Review article

VL - 139

SP - 49

EP - 58

JO - Perspectives in Public Health

JF - Perspectives in Public Health

SN - 1757-9139

IS - 1

ER -