Evidence is emerging from Canada (Life After Service Study) the USA (the Veterans Measurement Initiative) and Australia (Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme) about the wellbeing of service personnel during the peri-transition period. What do we know though about wellbeing and transition in the UK context? To date, most of the work has focused on the employment outcomes for former-service personnel. Although positive employment outcomes are a good indicator for overall wellbeing, they can only begin to tell a partial story. A binary indicator of in/out of work tells us nothing about the quality of an individuals experience. What more needs to be done to better understand the wellbeing of the military community? Should an objective measure of wellbeing be introduced in the military context to help identify individuals with areas of vulnerability and act quickly to help military retention? Your views would be most welcome!
Prior to the Life After Service Studies, which began in 2010 (every three years since) and covers Veterans released since 1998, there was limited data on the outcomes of veterans after transition to civilian life in Canada. Most of the data was related to clients of Veterans Affairs (less than 20% of the estimated Veteran population) or small samples of Veterans (ex medical releases, specific deployments). However, there was an understanding that we needed to measure more than employment outcomes. Veterans were identified on the 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey and the indicators examined include health status and determinants of health used to measure the well-being of the Canadian population. LASS adopted this same framework of indicators allowing for comparison to the Canadian Community Health Survey. Today policy and research in Canada is guided by a conceptual framework that includes 7 domains of well-being and a surveillance framework that includes 21 indicators of which 17 are from LASS. The priority going forward is to build a full registry of Veterans which would start with identifying Veterans on the census and measure well-being for the total population of Veterans (for example Veterans are now identified on the Canadian Survey of Disability 2017 and plans are in the works to identify Veterans on the Canadian Community Health Survey 2019). Hope this helps the discussion. I will post some of our documents related to well-being.