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New study to understand effect of COVID-19 on veterans

A new study to understand the effect of coronavirus on former service personnel is to be launched today, veterans minister Johnny Mercer has announced.

The work is sponsored by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) and will be undertaken by the world leading King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), King’s College London.

The study will look at whether COVID-19 has had any specific impact on the veteran community in the UK. This in turn will allow policy makers in government to understand potential issues affecting veterans and respond accordingly based on expert advice and evidence.

The work will collect data on loneliness, social support, alcohol consumption, mental health, gambling and general well-being. It will also explore the resilience of veterans and whether their experiences in the Armed Forces have actually better prepared them for the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data will be collected through an online survey starting on Monday 15th June.

The OVA has been working closely with the charity sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included the creation of a £6 million COVID-19 impact fund, to support charities to continue their essential work during this challenging period. This new study is a further important step to ensuring that government continues to drive forward its ambition to ensure the UK is the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:

We have seen a great contribution from veterans during the pandemic; from the amazing Captain Sir Tom Moore, to all those who have volunteered in their communities.

It is important that we understand the effect of this terrible pandemic on the veteran community too, so we can provide effective support, tailored to their needs.

This new study is an important part of that.