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QUB professor leads £300k study into stresses faced by families of veterans

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Project: Prof Cherie Armour

Project: Prof Cherie Armour

Project: Prof Cherie Armour

A Queen's University Professor has been given a grant of £306,956 to examine the challenges faced by the families of military veterans.

The study will identify the psychological health and wellbeing needs of families of ex-service personnel across the UK.

Prof Cherie Armour is leading the project commissioned by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

The research will use a survey, in-depth interviews and focus groups with families to examine the stresses they face and what factors aid their wellbeing.

Following the 75th anniversary of VE day, it's hoped the project can identify the future needs of ex-service families.

Due to begin in September, the research is expected to last two years and will be done in collaboration with several other universities.

Professor Armour, who is director of the Stress, Trauma and Related Conditions (Starc) research lab, said she was delighted to take on the project.

"Families are key to the health and wellbeing of military veteran populations as they provide that first line of support," she said.

"We understand that being a family member of a veteran can at times come with challenges.

"Families may have experienced a number of geographical relocations during a military career, have had worry and upset during times of the service person's deployment, and may have experienced some economic, social, and psychological challenges because of transition from military to civilian life; the family transitions with the service person. A smaller proportion may also be caring for our veterans who are suffering mental ill health."

She said a solid evidence base would aid support providers to design their services.

FiMT chief executive Ray Lock said the importance of family support to veterans was well-recognised, but a minority still struggled to help with the transition to civilian life. "This study will provide us with an important evidence base on the needs of ex-service families and will offer much-needed recommendations on how best to support them."

Professor Armour has been running the Northern Ireland Veterans' Health and Wellbeing Study since 2016, which is due to end in September.

The study has helped to establish a Northern Ireland-based veteran support office funded by Westminster and presentations to the defence select committee to highlight the bespoke mental health support for veterans living here.

Belfast Telegraph