Research undertaken by the University of Southampton and King's College London has investigated the effect of the Warrior Programme intervention in reducing functional difficulties in ex-Service personnel. The findings of this research were presented at an event on 29th June at HMS President, London.
A Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) by Southampton University, involving 52 participants, researched and validated the techniques the Warrior Programme uses to change individual attitudes and behaviour. These findings were then peer reviewed by Professors Fear and Greenberg of the King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London.
The results of the RCT show that those participants who received the Warrior Programme reported improvements in their functioning and emotional well-being at the end of the three day course. During the 3-month follow up period, improvement, although still statistically significant on most measures, was reduced. It is possible that the initial improvements made during the Warrior Programme could be strengthened by suitable 'top up' sessions; and it is planned to examine this in a further trial.
When activity was reviewed one year after beneficiaries took part in the Warrior Programme, 52% of those who were originally unemployed and not looking for work were now in employment or training. A number of study participants reported feeling that their improved situations enhanced their ability to function, including the capacity to engage with statutory services.
The Warrior Programme aims to teach veterans about tools and strategies to manage their emotions, to reduce anxiety and fear, and to improve their confidence in order to acquire focus and clarity for the future. The training is structured to begin to instil confidence and resilience, enabling participants to engage more effectively with other agencies to meet transition needs relating to housing, welfare and employment, and ultimately leading to independence.
The Warrior Programme study has demonstrated that high quality scientific techniques to evaluate a novel intervention can be used within the service charity sector. The same approach could be used by other service charities which use currently non-evidence-based approaches in order to allow a better understanding of the wide ranging approaches to provision of veteran's mental health care which currently exists.
Charlotte Cole, Warrior,s Founding Trustee, said: "This is a low-cost intervention which can prevent problems escalating, with hu:e emotional and financial costs for individuals, government and society at large. Our work potentially has far wider applications, as part of mainstream veteran support, and even beyond. This country is very generous in helping its obvious heroes. Here we have a way which is now proven to help the less obvious casualties of war, too."
Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust says: "The Warrior Programme should be congratulated for electing to bring Southampton University in to provide an independent evaluation, and also for subjecting their findings to peer review by King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London. As a Trust whose aim is to provide an evidence base that will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery, deciding whether to fund this research was not difficult for us.
"We are therefore delighted that the bold step the Warrior Programme took has been repaid by a positive outcome - ex-Service personnel do indeed benefit from this intervention. The challenge I would now place before the Warrior Programme is not just to build upon these findings and ensure a sustainably funded throughput of candidates, but also to continue the search for evidence of long-term benefit."
Click here for the Warrior Brochure on the Randomised Controlled Trial