A Qualitative Exploration of United Kingdom Ex-Serving Personnel’s Experiences of Seeking Help for Self-Harm, Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts: Preliminary Findings: [Poster] P178

Research output: Contribution to conference typesPosterpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: Members of the Armed Forces encounter
unique occupational experiences which can affect their health
and wellbeing during and after service. The rates of self-harm and suicidal behaviours among the United Kingdom
(UK) Armed Forces were previously low but have increased n recent years and since 2017 have been comparable to the
UK general population. A substantial proportion of military
personnel in the UK who experience mental health problems
do not seek professional support. Even though promoting
individuals to seek help is a key suicide prevention strategy,
little is known about the experiences of UK Armed Forces
personnel when seeking/not seeking help for self-harm and
suicide behaviours. The aim of this study is to qualitatively
explore UK ex-serving personnel’s experiences of seeking help
for self-harm, suicidal ideation, and/or suicide attempts.
Methods: Ex-serving personnel (n = 15-20) who self-reported
self-harm, suicidal ideation and/or suicide attempts measured
using the Clinical Interview Schedule Revised will be recruited into
the study. Participants will be recruited from a larger longitudinal
study exploring the health and wellbeing of the UK Armed
Forces, the King’s Centre for Military Health Research Health and
Wellbeing Study. Where possible, a range of participants will be
recruited into this qualitative study including (1) those who did
and did not seek help, (2) those who sought help formally via
clinical services or informally through friends and family, (3) men
and women, and (4) individuals from each of the tri-services.
Participants will take part in a semi-structured telephone interview
about the causes and context of their self-harm and suicide
behaviours, and their experiences of seeking or not seeking help
for these behaviours, including the barriers and facilitators faced.
The audio-recorded interviews will be transcribed verbatim and
analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.
Expected Results: Data collection for this study is due
to finish in October 2023. Key themes from the interview
transcripts will be presented.
Conclusions: Based on preliminary findings which will be
available by October 2023, recommendations for future
research and implications for research, policy and practice will
be discussed. Understanding the barriers and facilitators faced
by UK ex-serving personnel accessing support for self-harm
and suicide behaviours may provide a means for helping
ex-serving personnel to access support sooner and lessen
the impact on their health and wellbeing. Additionally, these
factors should be carefully considered when developing and
implementing prevention and intervention methods for this
unique occupational group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages132-133
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventCanadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum 2023 -
Duration: 16 Oct 202318 Oct 2023
https://cimvhrforum.ca/

Conference

ConferenceCanadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum 2023
Abbreviated titleCIMVHR FORUM
Period16/10/202318/10/2023
Internet address

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