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Evaluation of a pilot culturally informed, transdiagnostic, skills-based Group Emotional and Relationship Skills (GEARS) intervention for military, veteran and first responders with mental health injuries.

A research study evaluating the effectiveness of the group emotional and relationship skills (GEARS) program: 12-week skills-based program designed to enhance emotional regulation and interpersonal relationships in military personnel, veterans, and emergency service personnel.

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An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Group Emotional and Relationship Skills (GEARS) program.

This research study is an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Group Emotional and Relationship Skills (GEARS) program. The GEARS program was written by Dr Lane to provide psychoeducation and skills to improve the mental health of military, veterans, and emergency service personnel because of the high potential for exposure to chronic stress and trauma from being in a service-related occupation. GEARS consists of 12 x 2hr weekly sessions, and participants are taken through the detailed manualised program that provides psychoeducation of the effects of Service life, Service conditioning, identity and transition within the context of chronic stress and trauma. These factors also impact emotional regulation and interpersonal relationships, hence the incorporation of the skills-based tools to manage these effects. The program is co-facilitated by peers from the different services who have lived experience as GEARS is designed to be delivered as an early intervention for stabilisation and psychoeducation for military, veteran and first responder personnel. It is planned that the programs will be delivered by service personnel for their individual organisations as the capacity of co-facilitators develops. GEARS was piloted from February to April 2020, and feedback from participants was incorporated into the final version of the manual. The current study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of this peer led group program on various aspects of mental health such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. The study will also be collecting other data on general wellbeing, perceived quality of life, physical and mental health, and pathways to health care and service usage, which will be used to identify further needs for these population groups and guide future interventions.

For further information please contact the GEARS team: [email protected]

  • Team/Investigators

    Dr Jonathon Lane (University of Adelaide), Associate Professor Miranda Van Hooff (Military and Emergency Services and Health Australia (MESHA)), Professor Alexander McFarlane (Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies (CTSS)), Dr Ellie Lawrence-Wood (Phoenix Australia)

  • Funding Body

    MESHA (formally The Road Home) - THRF - The Air-Vice Marshall Brent Espeland Memorial Fellowship

  • Year Commenced

    July 2020

  • Expected Completion Date

    August 2024

  • MeSH Terms

    trauma, mental health, emergency service, first responder, military, veteran, emotional regulation, family, intervention, culturally aware, peer

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