Anglia Ruskins MSc is first in UK to provide specialist mental health training

Published: 1 July 2013 at 15:58

Anglia Ruskin’s MSc is first in UK to provide specialist mental health training

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A new course to help meet the mental health and social care needs of the UK’s five million military veterans has been launched by Anglia Ruskin University.

The Masters Degree (MSc) in Military and Veteran Mental Health is the first of its kind in the UK to provide specialised education and training for people working with military veterans, either in the health service or within charities.

Studies have shown that, although the majority do well, approximately one in five veterans develop mental health problems after leaving the Services.  Alcohol and substance misuse are common, as is vulnerability to social exclusion, homelessness and involvement in the criminal justice system.  

Risk of suicide and depression is heightened immediately after making the transition to civilian life and post-traumatic stress disorder is also common, particularly for those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Veterans are also much less likely than the general population to seek immediate help for their problems, on average taking 14 years to do so.

When leaving the Armed Services, healthcare provision transfers to the NHS but the upheaval of leaving the “military bubble” can make it difficult for veterans to engage in civilian mental health services.

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes served in the Army in the 1970s and 1980s, became the MoD’s head of clinical psychology, and conceived and developed the MSc in Military and Veteran Mental Health at Anglia Ruskin.

Professor Hacker Hughes said:

“The mental health needs of military veterans and their families receive significant attention.  However, there is still an unmet need for a progressive course that can address education and training on issues of military and veteran mental health and social care.
“Anglia Ruskin’s MSc will be delivered by experts in the field and will provide students – professionals working in the military, allied health care, NHS and third sector – with the knowledge that is necessary to work effectively with their military and veteran clients.”

The course, which begins in September, will cover a range of issues including the effects of traumatic exposure, adjustment to injury, and reintegration to family and civilian life.  A number of stakeholders have helped in its design, including the Department of Health and NHS, the MoD and Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity specialising in the treatment and support of veterans with mental health problems.

Consultant Psychiatrist Lt Col (Retd) Mike Srinivasan of the MoD said:

“The Department of Community Mental Health at Colchester Garrison have been involved with the development of this innovative and much-needed course right from the project’s initial conception and looks forward to building its partnership with Anglia Ruskin University over the years to come.”

Diane Palmer, who is Service Manager at Veterans First, The North Essex Veterans Service, said:

“This is an exciting and unique new course that will provide a range of professionals and clinicians with the underpinning knowledge and skills to work with our Armed Forces and Veterans.  Those who successfully complete this course will be prepared to work at both a clinical and strategic level within specialist services.”

Peter Poole, Director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships at Combat Stress, said:

“While the majority of the 20,000 people who leave the Armed Forces every year successfully transition to civilian life, a significant minority can face difficulties.  This course will ensure that there are better informed professionals to meet their needs.”

For further information, please visit or contact Sqn Ldr (Retd) Mark Sewart, who is leading the new course, on 0845 196 4180 or