Lord Ashcroft Research Award 2022: Beverly Bergman

Lord Ashcroft Research Award 2022: Beverly Bergman

March, 2022

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At Last Week’s FiMT Research Centre conference, the 2022 winner of the Lord Ashcroft Research Award was announced as Professor Beverly Bergman.

Professor (Col, Retd) Beverly Bergman OBE is a former Army doctor, and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the Institute of Health & Wellbeing in the University of Glasgow. She is a prolific and influential researcher in the veterans’ sector. Among her extensive studies into the Health of Scottish veterans, the most recent, ‘Suicide among Scottish Military Veterans: Follow-up and Trends’, looked at the risk of suicide in veterans compared with those who had never served.

The study found that, overall, their risk was no higher than non-veterans, and that the highest risk in both men and women veterans was among those in their forties, which is also a high-risk age group in the wider community. The FiMT-funded retrospective cohort study, using data from the Trends in Scottish Veterans’ Health Study, looked at 78,000 veterans and 253,000 non-veterans in Scotland born between 1945 and 1995, matched for age, sex and area of residence. The study used survival analysis to examine the risk of suicide in veterans compared with non-veterans and explored associations with mental health disorders.

Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This important evidence from Dr Beverly Bergman and her team will help those who are supporting the veteran community. Although every person who takes their own life is one too many, it is reassuring to see from this research that the veteran community, in Scotland at least, is not disproportionately affected compared to non-veterans. It is also useful to know that they may be at greater risk some time after their transition to civilian life because this could have implications for the support which is offered”. This research is an important contribution, both to service providers and to the public perception of veterans, and provides hard evidence that counters widely held beliefs about veteran suicide.

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