Wellbeing and mental health

This came out as such an important area in our research. Many families, even organised ones, feel uncertainty, stress and anxiety whilst transitioning, as well as that felt by the Service Leaver themselves. Our recommendations call for more support in this area for families echoing some of the comments from our participants:

“more preparation please for us [families].”

“if anything could come out of this….please let it be help and preparation for the whole family on what to expect and the emotional cycle of change that happens.”

“life off the patch has been slightly odd even though I do not consider myself ‘institutionalised’. It is harder to meet neighbours.”

The Army publish a useful range of Transition Guides and include one on ‘The Emotional Pathway’. Its informative reading for anyone leaving (or thinking of) across all the services although bear in mind it might contain reference to Army services that are not relevant to RAF personnel. Follow the link above and scroll down to find the guides. Service Leavers registered with the CTP can access them through the CTP website.

If you or your Service Leaver is struggling there is help both on and off your unit.

If you can access the Unit you can approach your SSAFA welfare staff – they are often located near education centres, the Padre and/or HIVE. In any case, your HIVE will be able to tell you where to find them. They may cover more than one unit in your area so it is worth making an appointment or finding out when they will at your unit before making a trip.

Your Service Leaver can approach resettlement staff to be signposted for help as well.

If you are stationed at Brize Norton you can contact the Transition Support Flight. They provide one to one support, aimed primarily at Wounded, Injured and Sick and Early Service Leavers and their families but also accessible more widely, on a full range of transition issues.

Outside of a Unit, you can approach us at the Families Federation, the RAF AssociationRAF Benevolent Fund, or the SSAFA Mentoring Service direct.

Don’t be put off the SSAFA Mentoring Service, although it suggests that the service is for Army Catterick-area units only, this is not the case, they have opened up the service more widely, across all three services and across the country.

You can contact Veterans Gateway for help and/or signposting to a service that can help you.

If you are experiencing mental health issues after you have left there are still many sources of help. See our links page for more services that can help in this area. The NHS provides information on its mental health services for ex-armed forces.