It’s well documented and understood from many people’s lived-experience that; the military have a long-standing historical relationship with alcohol.
But it’s not just the individual who faces the consequences and impacts of any over indulgence. Excessive use of alcohol also threatens livelihoods, family relationships, social interactions and ultimately, it can destroy the health and wellbeing of both individuals and their loved ones.
It’s no secret that substance use often affects the lives of former members of the UK Armed Forces. This can take many forms – from self-medication to help come to terms with a traumatic experience to difficulty transitioning from the heavy episodic drinking culture. (Rob Stebbings, policy and communications officer, Adfam)
A study published in 2007 (see here) found that the “prevalence of alcohol related harm and alcohol dependence within the UK Armed Forces is greater than in the general population”. A question which is often raised (see here) is; are the military drinking too much?
Adjusting to civilian life after a career in the armed forces can be hugely challenging, and that’s even without the PTSD that many veterans may be struggling with. Around 15,000 people leave the forces every year, and many try to cope with the transition by self-medicating – especially with alcohol, something that may have been a central part of their forces life. (Battle Lines – DDN)
Experiences and needs of families of former members of the UK Armed Forces with substance use problems: The University of York and Adfam, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), is looking at “the experiences and needs of adult family members of former members of the UK Armed Forces with substance use problems.”
The findings from this research will be used to develop a new peer support intervention for this group of families. One part of the project is an online survey which aims to find out about the experiences and needs of this group of families. The survey can be accessed HERE and should take about 45 minutes to complete.
Note: The Forces in Mind Trust works to “provide an evidence base that will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives.”