There are times when we all feel a little low. It's perfectly normal to feel stressed or anxious sometimes, but when this stress starts to become overwhelming and interferes with your daily life, it is important to reach out for support.
24-hour Emotional Support Helpline
During this difficult time, many of us may will be struggling with how we are feeling. It may be that there isn’t the time or the privacy to access counselling, or that that isn’t really what’s needed right now and just a one-off call would do.
The RAF Benevolent Fund have launched a 24 hour emotional support helpline in partnership with Vita Health Group. You can call the helpline at any time, day or night and a trained counsellor will be there to support you, even if you only have ten minutes.
This service is available to all adult members of the RAF Family. For further information you can contact the listening and counselling team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0300 222 5703.
Listening and Counselling Service
It is thought that one in four people will experience a common mental health illness, such as anxiety or depression, at some stage in their lives. Many do not seek the help they need, with only a quarter of those diagnosed going on to receive treatment.
That's why we have launched a Listening and Counselling Service providing a confidential emotional support service to those in the RAF Family, who may be affected by various mental wellbeing difficulties. The service is available to RAF personnel (including Reservists) and their dependent family members. If you are an RAF veteran or a veteran family member, please visit our wellbeing page dedicated to RAF Veterans.
Support is available for a range of difficulties, including:
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Low mood and stress
- Low self-esteem
- Loneliness and isolation
- Emotional stress felt due to caring for a loved one
Through the Listening & Counselling services you will be able to access the following:
- A dedicated helpline and email providing information on the service
- Therapy sessions delivered through our specialist partner organisations*
* Serving Regulars may need to be referred via their Medical Officer, please get in touch for further information.
**Calls charged at local rate.
Children and Young Persons Counselling Service
It is understood that one in eight children may have experienced a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression. To support the children and young people of the RAF Family we have launched a specialist counselling service. The service is available for children and young people aged 11 to 18 and offers support on a range of wellbeing and mental health issues such as:
- Low mood and depression
- Behavioural issues
- Managing family separation
- Family change – divorce, separation, bereavement, new step families
- Low self-esteem
- Academic pressure
Please call our Listening & Counselling team on 0300 222 5703 for more information.
I joined the RAF Reserves in 2011. I'd wanted to join the Regulars, but ended up doing a teaching degree but when an opportunity came up with the Reserves I took it.
About a year ago work pressures were becoming too much for me. I am an SAC but I have been acting up as a Corporal and I was putting a lot of pressure on myself for everything to be perfect.
My partner is also in the RAF and is away a lot and I was also concerned about his welfare when he was away and I was becoming more and more anxious. I started to feel overwhelmed but threw myself into work – I knew I couldn't break down there – and I began working later and later, just so as not to be home alone with my thoughts.
Things started to get too much for me and behind closed doors everything started to unravel. It started to impact on my relationship and as my partner and I were arguing so much I knew I had to do something about it. I contacted Anxiety UK and I was offered cognitive behavioural therapy with a local therapist. I have had six sessions now and she is brilliant. She has taught me to recognise the symptoms and how to deal with them. I know I am prone to depression but I know now to ask for help when I need it.
There is still a stigma around mental illness. I knew deep down something was wrong but I did not want to start that first conversation, I had a fear of where to start. I spent a long time in denial. You have to trust your family or a loved one and talk about it. My other half was adamant that things could not be left as they were any longer but I had to be pushed to get help. I thought I was coping but I wasn't.
Without the therapy sessions I would be in a far worse situation and I would encourage others to please seek help if they feel they are not coping and talk to someone about how they are feeling.
*Names have been changed
Help us understand the wellbeing of RAF personnel and improve our services. Please fill in our short and anonymous survey on your experiences: rafbf.org/survey.