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 veterans and their dependent family members (i.e. spouse/partner/widow(er) ). If you’re currently serving in the RAF or a dependent family member, please visit our wellbeing page dedicated to RAF Serving personnel.
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
*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.
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.
In this guest blog, Andrew Stevens talks about his personal experiences of leaving the RAF and how he spent 10 years battling a condition he didn't know he had.
I joined the Royal Air Force when I was 18 years old, serving as a painter and finisher on Tornados based out of RAF Lossiemouth.
I loved my job in the military, you're part of a tight community and a brotherhood.
In 2007, after seven years serving, my career in the RAF was unexpectedly cut short.
Despite being successful in finding a civilian job, I became anxious and depressed and quite quickly things spiralled out of control.
I began to worry about everything, my finances, my family, about my new job, my home.
Eventually that worry turned into compulsion and went on for 10 years. I questioned whether there was any point in me being here, I was ready to end things.
It was at that point my wife intervened and booked me a doctor's appointment. Quite early on they diagnosed me with severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
I finally admitted I needed help and got in touch with the RAF Benevolent Fund, not really knowing if they would be able to help.
The Fund's early and reactive support meant I didn't have to ask myself those questions for very long and slowly the darkness lifted. The Listening and Counselling service they provided saved my life.
Today I have turned my experience into a force for good by working with the charity Skillforce, presenting the Prince William Award in schools.
I help children with self-belief, self-control and team building, helping them to build resilience.