GMRF researchers, in partnership with RSL Queensland, have developed a world-first tool to predict how likely a Defence member is to have a difficult transition from Defence to civilian life, and what areas of reintegration they might need support with along the way.
The research-based tool, called the Mental Readiness for Military Transition Scale (MT-Ready), could have a significant impact on the lives of service members as it assesses their mental readiness for transition.
“The MT-Ready assesses psychological and social variables that impact on Defence members’ transition from the military to civilian life. This proactive, preventative approach – which hasn’t been done before – can be used before someone leaves Defence to predict what might happen once they leave,” said Dr Madeline Romaniuk, Principal Investigator on the study.
“Using a tool that has the ability to predict whether someone is going to have poor outcomes post-service, prior to their leaving service, can ideally prevent a potential cascade of negative events happening.”
Why is this research important?
The transition to civilian life following separation from military service is associated with increased risk of mental health disorders, suicide, and poor adjustment.
Australian research has found that approximately 78% of transitioned members experience a difficult transition out of military service, with 50% reporting they have not reintegrated or adjusted to civilian life up to 10 years after separation.
GMRF’s Director of Mental Health Research, Associate Professor Luke Johnson, says MT-Ready could make a huge difference to the trajectories of someone’s life.
“If the transition process itself is not as smooth and as seamless as it could be, then the effects of that could linger on for some time; people don’t feel settled in the community, they don’t feel welcomed into the community and they feel a sense of loss and out of place in the community,” said Assoc. Prof Johnson.
“This research is important because it provides the Defence community with a scientifically validated and tested tool that can be used by both Defence members themselves and in partnership with their health professionals to assess and predict how they will fair after transition, and then importantly, take action to improve wellbeing in any of the psychological or social areas identified.”
The 15-question assessment, takes 2 minutes to complete and enables Defence members to identify, whether they will likely benefit from support in three key areas: Future focus and optimism, Anger and perceived failure, and Civilian connections and social support.
“The results from the questionnaire identify whether the person is all good in a specific area or if further support is recommended prior to their transition to civilian life,” said Dr Romaniuk.
This research was the final phase of a seven-year programme of research led Dr Romaniuk at GMRF in partnership with RSL Queensland, which ultimately aimed to identify and predict Defence members who were most at risk of poor adjustment and reintegration difficulties post-separation, as well as mental health conditions associated with those difficulties.
Other tools that were developed throughout the programme of research include the Military to Civilian Adjustment and Reintegration Measure (M-CARM) and its companion on-line training programme GoBeyond , with both initiatives currently being widely used by veterans once they have transitioned from Defence.
The MT-Ready measure is available online and free of charge, Australia-wide: www.m-carm.org
The article Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Mental Readiness for Military Transition Scale (MT-Ready) was published in BMC Psychiatry on 08/08/2323. Read the article here.
See the video about MT Ready