RAF partners and spouses can now access online mindfulness platform, Headspace, in a recent initiative launched by the RAF Benevolent Fund. Previously available to serving personnel only, it is now available to the partners of personnel, too.
The scheme has been well received by the RAF with around 600 signing up in its first weeks. Now more than 3,400 serving personnel are enjoying the benefits of this online support.
Headspace is a 'gym membership for the mind' offering guided mindfulness and meditation exercises to help improve and maintain emotional wellbeing. These bite-sized 10-minute sessions can be accessed either through a mobile phone app or through a web-browser.
The platform offers various exercises focusing on specific areas of life such as sport, health, or happiness. Research has found that users begin to experience the benefits of Headspace after using it for just 10 minutes a day for 10 days.
Through the Fund, serving personnel and their partners can access a Headspace membership free of charge. The programme was initially launched with a pilot scheme in May 2018 before being rolled out to all RAF personnel in November 2018.
Alison Wyman, Head of Strategy and Programmes at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "Given the current climate, it's more important now than ever before to take care of our mental health, and providing free access to Headspace is one way that personnel and their partners can do so from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The decision to expand our Headspace offering is the latest development for our ever-evolving welfare provision."
This expansion of Headspace memberships follows a number other initiatives that the Fund has launched or expanded to help support members of the RAF Family throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides a Listening & Counselling Service, which has been expanded to provide 24-hour support. This service is available to veterans and serving personnel, as well as their partners, who may be in need of emotional support.
The Fund has also created an online mental wellbeing zone on our website where RAF veterans and personnel can find advice, support and find out where to go for more help.