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‘One is too many’ preventing self-harm and suicide in military veterans: A quantitative evaluation

APA Citation:

Finnegan, A., Salem, K., & Ainsworth-Moore, L. (2024). ‘One is too many’ preventing self-harm and suicide in military veterans: A quantitative evaluation. BMJ Military Health. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1136/military-2023-002623


Mental health

Branch of Service:

International Military

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:



Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Quantitative Study


Finnegan, Alan, Salem, K., Ainsworth-Moore, L.


Introduction In 2021, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust allocated over £2 million to programmes designed to have a clear and demonstrable impact on suicide prevention. Four grant holders delivered a combination of psychotherapeutic interventions, group activities, social prescribing, peer support mentoring, life skills coaching, educational courses and practical help with housing and employment. The evaluation was completed between August 2021 and July 2023. Methods A survey was completed by 503 participants at entry and 423 at exit. It captured data regarding demographic and military-specific details, health status, situational stressors, predisposing symptoms, help-seeking behaviour, social engagement, housing, living arrangements and employment status. The questionnaire included a number of validated psychometric questionnaires. Results This evaluation revealed reductions in situational stressors, symptoms and mental health illnesses. Seventy-six per cent of participants had completed an Operational Tour, and 77% were exposed to a traumatic event during service. It was the negative impact of unresolved traumatic effects that influenced service-users to require support. Forty-nine per cent delayed seeking help, and 36% self-referred to the One Is Too Many programme which demonstrates the importance of this option. There were improvements in the participants’ social networking, social activities, club membership and having people to rely on. Only 4% of participants were women which reinforces the requirement to explore initiatives to engage with female veterans. Conclusions Timely therapeutic and social prescribing interventions in a safe environment lowered depression, anxiety and the associated situational stressors leading to self-harming and may have reduced suicide. It presented another option to veterans and their families regarding where they can obtain support, care and therapeutic interventions. The programme provided a strong foundation for delivery organisations to forge lasting collaborative partnerships that can be extended to working with other authorities and institutes. The results highlight pathways for prevention and intervention strategies to inform policymakers, healthcare professionals and third-sector organisations.

Publication Type:



suicide prevention, evaluation, help seeking

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