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Ulster University secures £397,000 for veteran mental health study

Dr Cherie Armour Dr Cherie Armour

Ulster University has a secured a second round of funding from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) of almost £397,000 for a 3-year study into the mental health needs of ex-service personnel living in Northern Ireland.

The new second phase of research is a landmark study that will reveal for the first time not only the mental health factors of ex-service personnel living in Northern Ireland, but also such aspects as their coping styles and help-seeking abilities.

This new funding announcement follows £355,000 awarded to Ulster University in August 2015 by FiMT to research the wider supports and services available to armed forces veterans and their families living in Northern Ireland.

Ulster University psychologist Dr Cherie Armour has extensive experience of researching military and veteran issues in countries including Denmark, the US and Canada.

Dr Armour explained: "This new funding, combined with the previous significant funds secured from FiMT totalling £750,000 establishes a significant all-round focused programme of research. It offers an excellent opportunity to make a difference to the lives of local veterans who are currently or who may in the future experience difficulties and distress.

"This research is an important step forward in reviewing veteran mental health needs and associated factors that restrict them and their families from making a successful transition back into local civilian life.

"The results will be an extremely rich source of information for policy makers and mental health service providers on the types and levels of distress experienced by this group and the different factors which may increase or decrease a veteran's psychological wellbeing. This includes such issues as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, dissociation, post-traumatic growth, perceived social support, functional impairment and quality of life.

"We know that our findings will be well placed to influence and promote better mental health and well-being in Northern Ireland's veteran community and also positively build capacity to deliver evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation services."

Anyone who is a veteran or ex-service personnel, or a family member of this group, who would be interested in participating in this entirely confidential research can contact Dr Cherie Armour directly at Ulster University on c.armour1@ulster.ac.uk.