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.
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 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
*Serving Regulars may need to be referred via their Medical Officer, please get in touch for further information.
**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.
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.