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.
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 veterans and their dependent family members (i.e. spouse/partner/widow(er)) as well as currently serving RAF members (including Reservists) and their dependent family members. 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 and Counselling Service, delivered in partnership with Anxiety UK and Wellbeing Solutions Management, 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*
- Subsidised annual membership to Anxiety UK
To access this service, please call 0300 222 5703** Mon – Thur 9.30 – 16.30, Fri 9.30 – 16.00 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* If you are a currently serving Regular in need of therapy treatment please contact your medical officer in the first instance.
**Calls charged at local rate.
Please note, if you are a veteran in need of support with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), please contact Combat Stress in the first instance.
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