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A service evaluation of the military headfit initiative: An implementation study

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Amber McKenzie, Bethany Croak, Laura Rafferty, Neil Greenberg, Sharon A.M. Stevelink

Original languageEnglish
Article number7375
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Published2 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Acknowledgments: The service evaluation would not have been possible without the support of those who volunteered to engage with our research team. We are aware that participants gave up their time and provided highly valuable feedback which will be fundamental to the success of Head-FIT. We would also like to acknowledge the wider researcher team at KCMHR for their support of the service evaluation, including but not limited to Nicola T. Fear, Sir Simon Wessely, David Pernet, Philip Sharma, Tatyana Abraham, Bibi Masala, Sarah Evans, Harriette Burt, Ava Phillips and Christopher Jones. We would like to thank the Ministry of Defence, Denhams Digital and the Royal Foundation for their support and engagement through the evaluation, and the Forces in Mind Trust for funding the evaluation. We would like to pay particular thanks to Major Georgina Politowicz, Captain David Fleming, Flight Lieutenant Kyle Jamison, Warrant Officer Dean Button and Warrant Officer Gareth Williams for their involvement with the evaluation recruitment, especially in response to COVID-19. Funding Information: Conflicts of Interest: This paper represents independent research funded by the Forces in Mind Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Forces in Mind Trust or the Ministry of Defence. S.A.M.S. is part funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, and the Forces in Mind Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Forces in Mind Trust or the Ministry of Defence. N.G. is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership between Public Health England, King’s College London and the University of East Anglia. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care. Funding Information: This research was funded by Forces in Mind Trust (Forces In Mind Trust-FiMT18/0824KCL). Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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(1) Background: UK Armed Forces personnel provide first response, support and protection during national and international disasters and conflicts. They thus have a psychologically chal-lenging role which requires them to maintain a good state of mental health and wellbeing. HeadFIT is a preventative initiative developed to help foster mental fitness through various self-help tools and resources online including techniques to de-stress and increase drive. This paper reports on an independent service evaluation of HeadFIT to examine feasibility and acceptability among Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel. (2) Methods: Qualitative interviews were held with the HeadFIT ben-eficiaries, including military personnel and civil servants. The beneficiaries provided feedback on HeadFIT through questionnaires and interviews, and website traffic data were also collected. Qualitative data were analysed using framework analysis. (3) Results: Beneficiaries generally reported positive views on the HeadFIT initiative, with most agreeing that the tools could support them to foster their mental fitness. However, concerns were raised around the uptake of HeadFIT and participants suggested methods to improve usability. (4) Conclusions: Several recommendations were made to improve the resources, usability, uptake, and implementation and communication of HeadFIT.

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