National Centre of Excellence for Military Mental Health

Those who have served in the Armed Forces get used to crises. But the COVID-19 pandemic is like nothing we have experienced before. We face an uncertain future, with restrictions on what we can do, likely to last longer than we first thought, with a risk that could return at any time, and an enemy that is unseen.

There has been lots of talk of how different groups have been affected by this. Schools had to close. The elderly and vulnerable have needed to isolate. We have seen brilliant work by those on the NHS frontline, carers and key workers with many becoming casualties themselves, much as those in the Armed Forces have been called to do over the years.

But there has been little attention paid to people like you – veterans who have served their country as heroically as the NHS staff and others are serving theirs, who may also have been affected by what they experienced previously in-service and transition to civvy street. Some of whom currently may be struggling with isolation, concerns about employment, threats to their own families, and who may have experienced the loss of essential services, as attention has been diverted to new threats and causes. Veterans know that the memories of the public, politicians and media can be short.

If you are reading this, it is likely that you have been taking part at some stage over the last 20 years in the work of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR). And now we want you to take part again, because the COVID-19 crisis has created new challenges and experiences that no one had anticipated even a few months ago. And so, we are about to reach out and ask for your help in this work.

Today we are launching a study to check-in with veterans to see how they are doing during the pandemic. We are contacting veterans in the UK, directly via email, who have previously taken part in our 2014-2016 Health and Well-being study and asking them to fill out an online questionnaire. Please check your email inboxes over the next few days for an email from us at KCMHR.

Participation is completely voluntary, and your identity and individual responses will be entirely confidential. It is important to hear from as many veterans as possible to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK veterans, and so your participation really counts. The results of the study will be used to inform government policy and get support to those who need it. We are keen to hear from you even if you have not been ill with coronavirus and are coping as well as can be expected with the current restrictions.  Once again, we need your help to find out how this latest crisis is affecting the veteran community.

Veterans CHECK by the King's Centre for Military Health Research.

To learn more about the study and the research team, please follow this link to the study website. The study is funded by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs. However, we are a fully independent academic research group.

If you are a veteran and have concerns about your health and well-being, you can see our guide on our study website which includes details of organisations that may be able to offer support and guidance for a range of issues that may be affecting you.

For updates on this study and our other work, please follow us on twitter @kcmhr and take a look at our most recent blogs.

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