Mental Health support for RAF Serving personnel and mobilised Reservists

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Mental health issues affects 3 in 100 Serving personnel in the UK Armed Forces (UK armed forces mental health: 2018 to 19: annual report 2018/19). As part of Health and Wellbeing Month and in line with Mental Health Awareness Week, we highlight how RAF Serving personnel can get support with any mental health issues.

If you are a serving member of the RAF or a mobilised Reservist and need support with your mental health, in the first instance, contact the DMS Medical Centre to see the GP who may then refer you to the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) if required. DCMHs are staffed by psychiatrists, mental health nurses, clinical psychologists and mental health social workers. A wide range of psychiatric and psychological treatments are available, including medication, psychological therapies, social support and a change of environment where appropriate.

Reservists who have mobilised since 2003, are eligible to mental health support through the Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme (VRMHP) for operationally related mental health problems. For more information, visit the mental healthcare section of the Defence Medical Services website.

NHS Support

The NHS in England provide The Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) for Serving personnel approaching discharge from the military, Reservists (active and non-active) and veterans with mental health difficulties. It is a self-referral service, GPs and military charities can also refer. TILS provides a range of treatment, from recognising the early signs of mental health problems and providing access to early support, to therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties and psychological trauma. Help may also be provided with housing, employment, alcohol misuse and social support. Visit the NHS website for more information, and also read their leaflet entitled: NHS mental health care for veterans.

The RAF Benevolent Fund

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. From the end of May 2020, The RAF Benevolent Fund is offering all personnel and their partners from access to Headspace for free. 

HeadFIT for Life

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. Designed for Defence personnel, 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.

Additional sources

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.

For more information about other mental health services and support for Armed Forces families visit our dedicated pages.

Further information

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 Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

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