Families of serving RAF personnel can benefit from new training to spot mental health issues, thanks to the RAF Association. We have received two grants from the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Mental Health Promotion Fund’ and the Postcode Community Trust to launch the programme, which begins next month at RAF Coningsby.
Adult Mental Health Aware Half Day is the first course to be offered to the partners and spouses of serving RAF personnel and civilian staff contracted to work on stations. We recognise the vital role families play in identifying and understanding mental health issues and the course provides the understanding and supporting skills to implement practical support. Teachers of children whose parents serve in the RAF at schools local to the stations, can also take advantage of the programme.
3.1 per cent of UK Armed Forces personnel were assessed with a mental disorder at MOD Specialist Mental Health Services in 2017-18 *
RAF Association area director, Ailsa Gough has been on the course and spoke of her own experiences.
“We feel it’s important to provide support to the families of those serving their country in the RAF and therefore, are delighted to have received this vital funding. I have experienced one of the workshops myself and, in my voluntary role as a Befriender to an RAF veteran, it has given me a better understanding of how I can help people in need.”
The RAF Association successfully piloted the course at RAF Benson and RAF Valley in 2017 with participants saying they had a better understanding of issues affecting people and the signs to look out for. Delivery of training courses will begin next month at RAF Coningsby before expanding to a further ten stations later in the year.
* UK armed forces mental health: 2017/18: infographic – www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-armed-forces-mental-health-annual-statistics-financial-year-201718