Mental Health support for RAF families

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Life in the armed forces does not only impact the Serving person, it has a considerable impact for family members as well. As part of Health and Wellbeing Month and in line with Mental Health Awareness Week, we signpost support services available for the families of Serving personnel.

Support for family members

For family member of RAF Service personnel the NHS provides your mental healthcare, in the first instance you should make an appointment to visit your GP who may then refer you to mental health support services.

There are additional mental health services you can self-refer to. These typically include services for drug and alcohol problems, as well as some psychological therapies. To find out more about these services and how to access them visit the NHS website.

Support for children

If your child has a difficulties with their mental health then you should approach their GP or school for further advice. The GP/school may suggest referring your child to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Additional support services

Throughout 2020, RAFA are offering free mental wellbeing courses for non-serving members of the RAF community across the UK. Visit RAFA for more information and to book a free place.

The RAF Benevolent Fund offer a Listening and Counselling Service and it is available to RAF personnel (including Reservists) and their dependent family members. Support is available for a range of difficulties, including: anxiety and/or depression, bereavement and loneliness and isolation. There is also a 24hr Emotional Support Helpline and an online wellbeing zone. Visit the RAF Benevolent Fund for more details. The RAF Benevolent Fund is also offering partners of RAF personnel, from the end of May 2020, access to Headspace for free. 

Launched by the Ministry of Defence and The Royal Foundation, HeadFIT for Life is made up of a series of tools or activities that can be easily incorporated into anyone’s day-to-day routine. Although it is designed for Defence personnel, it is applicable to anybody and the aim is to help you establish healthy habits to unlock potential, achieve personal goals and reach your optimal wellbeing. Use the HeadFIT tools to improve your drive, confidence, mood and how you de-stress.

The Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has produced self help guides around anxiety, depression and low mood, and stress.

Visit the RAF’s health and wellbeing page for a range of supporting tools and resources.

The RAF’s Serving families page has a wealth information including what to do in a family emergency and how to find your local HIVE. Additionally, you can find for more information about other mental health services and support for Armed Forces families on our mental health pages.

Further information on health and wellbeing

The RAF FF’s website provides a good reference section on all things health-related. You can also sign up to our (free) weekly eBulletin and/or quarterly Envoy magazine to keep yourself up to date generally with updates and information on new initiatives as they go live.

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Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels.

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