New services to support the emotional wellbeing and mental health of RAF personnel are being launched this year by the RAF Benevolent Fund…

The RAF’s leading welfare charity is expanding its partnership with Anxiety UK to cover serving RAF men and women as well as those who have left the service. This includes both regulars and reservists, as well as their partners.

Those struggling with anxiety or depression will have access to an Anxiety UK helpline for emotional support, self-help material and subsidised membership. This includes free membership to Headspace, an online mindfulness programme aimed at helping people to have calmer minds Reservists and partners of serving RAF men and women are also able to attend therapy sessions.

Alison Wyman, Head of Welfare at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “As the RAF’s leading welfare charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund knows only too well the stresses and strains life in the Armed Forces can put on personnel and their relationships. After identifying this welfare need, we have worked in partnership with a specialist to provide a service to support those suffering from poor mental health as well as their partners. Relate relationship counselling is another way the Fund provides mental and emotional wellbeing support for the RAF Family.”

The Fund has been working with relationship counselling charity Relate for seven years providing six free counselling sessions to all personnel.

Feedback from RAF servicemen and women and their partners who have taken up the sessions is incredibly positive, with everyone who was asked saying they would recommend the service and they felt better able to cope with difficulties they might face in the future. One client said: “I’m not sure we would still be together or able to communicate had we not decided to have these sessions.”

To contact Anxiety UK call 0844 334 1550 or email rafsupport@anxietyuk.org.uk

To find out more about the Fund’s relationship counselling support call 0845 077 5556 or visit http://rafbf.relate.org.uk/ to access the free online Building Stronger Families course.

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