Study aims to understand mental health and wellbeing of veterans' families – Belfast Telegraph

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Veterans form up on Horse Guards Parade (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
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By Rebecca Black, PA

A new study by academics in Belfast is aimed at understanding factors affecting the mental health and wellbeing of veterans’ families.
Researchers from the Queen’s University are set to play an integral role in the UK-wide study designed to allow relatives to share their experiences and to help impact change for current and future UK Armed Forces veteran families.
The study, which is being funded by Forces in Mind Trust alongside the National Lottery Community Fund, is looking for spouses or intimate partners of veterans, adult children of veterans, and veterans themselves to fill out an online survey examining their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours on a variety of topics.

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Veterans watch the official opening of the British Normandy Memorial in France (Jakob King/PA)
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It will also explore relationships between family members, investigate the contribution of the local community to family mental health and wellbeing and identify what services are used by veteran families, as well as what barriers to care might exist.
Professor Cherie Armour, director of research, described it as a “fantastic opportunity for veterans’ families to have their voice heard”.
“We very recently conducted a review of the existing research that focused directly on the voice of family members and were shocked by the fact that very few studies existed within the UK,” she said.
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“Our research will be pivotal in facilitating the design and implementation of family specific supports for those who need them for many years to come. It is therefore important that we can hear from as wide a group of veteran family members living in the UK as possible.”
She said researchers will look at what is needed in the UK as a whole as well as any specific issues that need addressed in the four regions.
“By identifying the key future needs of veteran families going forward the research has the potential to inform policy, programme and initiative creation, and future research for years to come, with veteran families across the UK benefiting from these changes,” she added.
The project is being conducted by Queen’s University in collaboration with King’s College London, Cardiff University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Anglia Ruskin University, and Combat Stress. 
If you are a partner or child of an Armed Forces veteran you can find additional information and take part in the survey using this link https://www.ukvetfamilystudy.org/survey
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