The Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme
2.1) Outline of the Programme
It is the largest and most comprehensive programme of study undertaken in Australia to examine the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families, and builds on the previous Defence research such as the Military Health Outcomes Programme. For the first time, it includes a picture of mental disorders in the initial years after transition from full time service. It also investigates how individuals previously diagnosed with a mental disorder access care, how mental health issues change over time, the mental health status of reservists, as well as examining the experiences and needs of families of serving and ex-serving personnel.
The Programme is a significant investment of $5m over 3 years.
The Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme consists of three study components:
a) Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study;
b) Impact of Combat Study; and
c) Family Wellbeing Study.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study
The first study, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study, will target both serving and ex-serving personnel to determine their mental, physical and social health status. Specifically this study will:
- determine the prevalence of mental disorders amongst personnel who have transitioned from full-time service between 2010 and 2014;
- examine the physical health status of serving and ex-serving personnel;
- investigate pathways to care for serving and ex-serving personnel, with a priority on those with a diagnosed mental disorder;
- examine the factors that contribute to the current wellbeing of serving and ex-serving;
- investigate how mental health issues change over time, especially once an individual transitions from full time service;
- investigate technology and its utility for health and mental health programmes, including implications for future health service delivery; and
- investigate the mental health and wellbeing of currently serving Reservists.
Impact of Combat Study
The Impact of Combat Study, will comprehensively follow-up the mental, physical and neuro-cognitive health of personnel who deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations between 2010 and 2012. This will include individuals previously identified as being engaged in high risk roles and likely to be exposed to deployment related trauma or blast injury.
Family and Wellbeing Study
The Family and Wellbeing Study being conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, will investigate the impact of military service on the health and wellbeing of the families of serving and ex-serving personnel.
2.2) Programme Outcomes
By understanding the impact of military service, deployment experiences and the associated health outcomes of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families, more effective policy and programmes can be developed and both departments will be able to better meet the needs of contemporary veterans. These studies in particular provide an opportunity to close the gap in the research evidence around understanding the needs of personnel who have transitioned from Defence and their families.
This research programme will provide the evidence base and set the foundation for enhancing the policy and programmes that support veteran mental, physical and social health into the future.
This is only possible however with the support of the men and women how have served and their families, as they need to tell us about their experience and what support they need. We therefore encourage every member of the veteran and defence community, family member, commander and ex-service organisation to get behind this research programme.
Regular updates on how the research is progressing will be available from this website in the coming months.