Of interest | 43

Helping Hands for Mental Wellbeing

by WO Jon Sykes

In modern times, stress feels more and more part of our everyday lives. What causes stress to us depends in part with the circumstances we face; domestic issues, relationships and work factors can all play apart and whilst serving in the Royal Air Force these pressures can accumulate quickly.Some of us can roll with the punches and take these stressors ‘in our stride’, whilst some will require help to get through these times. However,there are those who will not seek help and may find that these times become so uncomfortable that they become ill.

For those serving in today’s Royal Air Force, we recognise our people face avariety of pressures and we do all we can to help. This starts on joining and throughout Service where Stress Management and Resilience training is provided at all levels of training; from basic to recruit to managers in abid to normalise the issue and encourage our people to seek assistance at the early stages of feeling uncomfortable.

When faced with aproblem aService Person has anumber of avenues for support and guidance to turn to. They can speak with their Line Manager or alternatively seek help from the Padre or SSAFAworker (their out of hours helpline is 0300 0111 723), who are also open to direct approaches from families. In February 2018, the Ministry of Defence and Combat Stress launched a new partnership to provide a24-hour mental health helpline (0800 323 444) for serving personnel and their families.

If aproblem isn’t addressed it could lead to an illness which will require an intervention from adoctor who may refer the individual to a specialist. Talking with atrained professional can help you learn to deal with stress and become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings.

The Big White Wall is an online Mental Health and Wellbeing service with arange of self-help programmes. MOD has acontract, running for several years now,with Big White Wall that allows free access for Armed Forces, Veterans and families.

The MOD has recently partnered with the Royal Foundation with the aim of providing asuite of information and training products that promote good Mental Health and access to support. The Samaritans are also part-way through aproject to deliver training and information to the Service Community to reduce the risks of suicide. |Summer 2018 | ENVOY

More directly the RAF Benevolent Fund continue to support the RAF Community with avariety of initiatives such as access to Anxiety UK as presented in Envoy (Spring 18).

Veterans and their families have the opportunity to access support from ahuge variety of different agencies, such as SSAFAorthe RAF Benevolent Fund, and might find it difficult to know where to start. The help the MOD has developed the Veterans Gateway as afirst point of call for anyone needing help:

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