Menu Donate Request our help

Helpline: 0300 102 1919

Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon: Standing shoulder to shoulder with the RAF Family 365 days a year

It may seem fitting that today, on Blue Monday, known as the most depressing day of the year, we are launching new services to support the emotional wellbeing of the RAF Family.

But as we know, anxiety and poor mental health is something people can experience at any time of year and is not confined to a month, let alone one day.

The theory behind Blue Monday comes from a calculation based on factors such as the weather, debt and time since Christmas, which were all said to contribute to the dreariest day of the year.

Paul Hughesdon

The RAF Benevolent Fund is passionate that no member of the RAF Family should face adversity alone.  We know how much poor mental health can affect the quality of people's lives. 

So that is why, along with our partnerships primarily with Anxiety UK and Cruse Bereavement Care, we believe that people facing poor mental health, anxiety or depression should be able to access support 365 days a year and that no one should suffer in silence.

And we want to help.  That is why we have expanded our current welfare services for RAF veterans. This now includes free emotional support for people suffering with anxiety and depression, support for bereavement and a listening, counselling and wellbeing service.

According to recent research, one in five veterans is likely to be living with a common mental health illness but many do not seek the help they need.

The free services that we are providing are available to both younger and older RAF veterans as well as those dependent family members who are experiencing difficulties.

Together, we will tackle these issues head on. While there is still a stigma associated with mental health, the situation has improved drastically since my time in the RAF, when mental health was rarely mentioned.

This year the RAF will celebrate its 100th anniversary.  Having been formed one year later, as the RAF's leading welfare charity, we are proud to have stood side by side with the RAF Family throughout our history and are determined to continue to evolve to meet current and future needs.

Find out about the services that we offer to members of the RAF Family who may be affected by anxiety or depression – or many other forms of adversity – by visiting our wellbeing page.

Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon is the Director of Welfare and Policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund, which provides support for former and serving RAF personnel and their families. He served in the Royal Air Force between 1983 and 2009.

Related articles:

Sign up to receive the RAFBF e-newsletter