A team of researchers at Ulster University are looking for military veterans in the region to take part in an anonymous survey to help influence support services for those who used to be in the armed forces.
Professor Cherie Armour in the School of Psychology is leading the project to find out more about the health and well-being of veterans.
Currently little is known about the current and future needs of veterans living in Northern Ireland in comparison to other countries, including England, Scotland, and Wales.
To help build a picture of life after military service, veterans are being asked to take part in the NI Veteran Health and Well-being Study, which has been running for three years and already brought together valuable evidence about the current services and support on offer.
Prof Armour says that the study, which is funded by the charity Forces in Mind Trust, is particularly important as it will help those running support services to better understand and importantly meet the needs of veterans in the future.
“The experiences of some veterans living in Northern Ireland have already been obtained using focus groups with veterans, and one-to-one interviews with service providers,” said Prof Armour, who lead author in a report based on these earlier findings, called Current and Future Needs of Veterans in Northern Ireland which was published in December 2017.
It identified that access to the range of veteran support services available can be a challenge for some veterans.
Work is also underway to try to build an accurate estimate of the size of the veteran population in the region, which has proved difficult because many wish to remain hidden due to security concerns.
“Many NI veterans have already kindly come forward and are completing the anonymous survey and the results will make an important contribution to our final report,” added Prof Armour. “However, the more people come forward the better the research will be, as the evidence will be much stronger. So don’t miss your chance”.
“All veteran contributions matter, because it is only their experiences and opinions that will help build a picture about the current health and wellbeing of veterans in Northern Ireland. All information provided is kept strictly confidential, with anonymity assured”.
“It is a very comprehensive survey; because it is important that we find out as much information as possible, and so the survey may take roughly 60 minutes. Don’t be put off by this, because if you are using the same computer you can log in and out a number of times over a number of weeks, and it all counts. A report of the study’s findings will be published later in 2019 to inform service planning, so that complex needs are better understood and met for NI veterans”.
If you are a veteran/ex-Service personnel of the UK Armed Forces and currently live in Northern Ireland, you can complete the Northern Ireland Veterans' Health and Wellbeing Survey.
You are eligible if you served with Regulars or Reserves and no longer serve, but also if you served with Regulars in the past and now serve with the Reserves.
Please follow the link below and once complete, you can enter the prize draw in December and you could win one or more of the nine Amazon vouchers on offer; and each one is worth £150.
The survey will close in the spring.
Please click here.
To find out more about the study, and the overall project to look at the experiences of former armed forces personnel in Northern Ireland, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website of the Northern Ireland Veterans' Health & Wellbeing Study here.