Mental Health

Mental Health


Everyone has mental health as well as physical health, and these aspects of health are often related. All of us will experience challenges at some point in our lives that affect our emotional, social and psychological wellbeing. These difficulties may be temporary or part of a longer-term mental health condition. Help is available so please reach out and ask for support if you need to.

1. Book resources

Separation and deployment are part and parcel of Royal Navy and Royal Marines Service life. We have put together a book list with a wide range of topics suitable for all ages to help you through the challenges this lifestyle may bring. 

2. Free access to Headspace

News: 16th January, 2023


The NFF are delighted to learn that the Royal Navy initiative to provide the Headspace App, for free, to all serving personnel and up to 3000 family members is continuing in 2023. We believe that this is a great resource and would encourage you to sign up for it.


Sign up for free via Headspace. If you have any questions, check out our FAQ

3. Addiction support

There are a huge range of different support services available to those who may be struggling with addiction. If you need to reach out and ask for help, please make sure that you engage with trained professionals who will be able to support you appropriately – there are many organisations that claim to offer bespoke support to members of the Armed Forces but you need to be confident that they can offer the right help. Look out for organisations that are endorsed by the NHS, check the COBSEO website for contact details of organisations that have fulfilled their due diligence criteria, or take a look at national charity websites such as Mind, which provides useful lists of organisations that can help. There are also online tools available that can help too, such as the Drink Aware App. The NavyFit team also have a range of resources on their website too. 

If you have concerns about your gambling habits, or those of someone close to you, there are a number of organisations that can help. Some of these offer specific support to Service personnel and their families, whilst other are national charities who deliver a broad range of services and help. Please take some time to look through your options and select one that will work best for you. 

Specialist Support for the Armed Forces
  • Forces Families Support  The Forces Families Support team engage with those members of the Armed Forces community who are affected by addiction.
  • Forces Gambling and Alcohol Support Service The aim of the Forces Alcohol and Gambling Support service (known as FLAGS) is to provide a private and confidential service to support current serving personnel who may be experiencing difficulties with alcohol and/or gambling.   
National Charities (UK wide)
  • GamCare This charity provides information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms. They also operate the National Gambling Helpline, provide structured support for anyone who is harmed by gambling.
  • Gamble Aware This is an independent charity who commission gambling harm education, prevention, early intervention and treatments across Great Britain. 
  • National Gambling Support Network   This is a group of organisations across Great Britain that providefree, confidential and personalised supportfor anyone who’s experiencing harm from gambling, as well as those affected by someone else’s gambling. 
NHS England
4. IPC4V Framework - personalised care for Service Leavers & Veterans (England)

NHS England and MOD have worked together to design and deliver a programme to support the small number of Armed Forces personnel who have complex and enduring physical, neurological and mental health conditions that are attributable to injury whilst in Service.  Individuals who are eligible for this service are proactively identified by medical staff whilst they are on the Defence Recovery Pathway. This occurs while they are in an Armed Forces Personnel Recovery Unit. 


The service ensures that eligible individuals transitioning out of the Armed Forces into civilian life will continue to receive comprehensive support. IPC4V helps to deliver personalised care in line with the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant. This is part of the expansion of support under the NHS Long Term Plan. 


IPC4V ensures that a range of organisations (i.e. health and social care, MOD, Service Charities)  work collaboratively with the individual and their family and/or carer to ensure the provision of personalised care, support and treatment that meets their needs, in ways that work for them. The benefit of IPC4V includes ongoing support to help ensure that each individual is an active participant in the planning and management of their own health and wellbeing, with outcomes and solutions having meaning and context within their life. A dedicated Veterans Welfare Manager provides a range of support, including ‘guided conversations’ to help with identifying goals and actions in their life and family situation. It gives individuals more choice and control over how their care is planned and delivered. 


The MOD also provides extra funding to a very small number of individuals injured in service, and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme recipients who require 24 hour, one to one care from a trained individual. The funding, which has currently been set as £24,000 per year, for life, can be spent on health and wellbeing activities which are above those already provided by statutory services to enable a better quality of life for this small number of individuals. 

5. Children’s Mental Health Care in Schools (England)

In December 2017, the Department of Health and the Department for Education released a Green Paper to consult on mental health provision for children and young people. It set out 3 key proposals for schools and the NHS to improve services. 


The NFF released a formal response, following the publication of this Green paper. Our response highlighted the impacts of RN/RM have on children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and called for action in the Government’s future plans. To read a short summary of the Government’s proposals and our response, please click here. 


The consultation period lasted for 13 weeks from December 2017 to March 2018, and has received over 2,700 responses. The Government’s response to the consultation was published in late July 2018 and the decision was made to implement 25 trailblazer areas across England to provide expert mental health support to almost half a million children and young people every year.    


Each designated team will support up to 8,000 children and they are responsible for a cluster of around 20 schools and colleges each, to build on support already in place from different sectors (e.g. school counsellors, nurses). The teams are designated to help with treating mild and moderate mental health issues in school; a link to specialist NHS services will also be provided to those with more severe needs, to access the right support. Funding from the Department for Education is also in place to train senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, to work closely with the NHS teams. 

6. Project REBALANCE for Service Mums

The intent of REBALANCE is to improve the mental health awareness of Service mothers, allowing them to receive a basic education about worrying symptoms and behaviours. They aim to reduce the stigma and barriers to treatment; enable Service mothers to present themselves without fear of being labelled by peers or command or being considered a ’bad mother’; and address the potential gap between civilian and military healthcare providers using a ‘maternity health passport’, a document to ensure continuity of care from your health professionals. More details about this service are available through your regional maternity team or military GP. 

7. Support available
Accessing NHS Services

NHS Urgent Mental Health Line (England)

If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment. It’s important to know that support is available, even if services seem busy at the moment.

Mental Health Services at NHS 24 (Scotland)

NHS 24 mental health services are available to everyone in Scotland. The services they offer include listening, offering advice, and guiding you to further help if required.

NHS Wales Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

Extra help for your mental wellbeing is available across Wales, online and over the phone. These resources are safe, free, and you don’t need a referral, so take a look and see what can help you today.

Northern Ireland Mental Health Services

If you are experiencing problems with your mental health it is important to talk to your GP about your thoughts and feelings. The earlier you seek help the easier it will be to identify and resolve your problems.

NHS Every Mind Matters

There are times when we all feel the strain. As parents and carers, there are ways we can support children and young people to give them the best chance to stay mentally healthy.

  • The following services may be open to Service Leavers, Veterans, Reservists and their families – please contact the appropriate organisation to check your eligibility.

Don’t Panic – NHS Audio Self-Help Guides

The Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust provides a wide range of mental health and learning disability services for children, young adults, adults and older adults. They have created a range of self-help guides which are designed to provide easily accessible information about common mental health difficulties, such as stress, social anxiety, panic attacks and negative thinking. These guides are all available, for free, on their website.


Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

If you’re struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is there to help.  Op COURAGE is an NHS England service developed with people who’ve served in the Armed Forces and experienced mental ill-health. Whether you’re due to leave the Armed Forces, are a Reservist or have already left the military, Op COURAGE can help. Find out more at 



Veterans First Point Scotland is an NHS Scotland programme which provides a veteran-led mental health and welfare support service. The partnership aims to maximise engagement with Scottish veterans and support recovery from mental health issues through welfare and psychological support.



Veterans NHS Wales provides specialised, priority service for individuals who have served in the Armed Forces, at any time in their lives and who are experiencing mental health difficulties related specifically to their military service.


Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Veterans Support Office can provide more details about the range of mental health support services available to Veterans and their families.

Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness helps people take action for a happier and kinder world.

CAMHS Resources

The Camhs website was created for young people, carers and professionals to pool together lots of helpful resources from across the internet that are available to help support your mental health and well-being.

*Please note that this is not an official NHS website*

Combat Stress

The ex-Services Mental Welfare Society, Combat Stress, is the only Services charity specialising in helping those of all ranks from the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy suffering from psychological disability as a result of their Service.

If you’re currently serving, or have served in the UK Armed Forces, you can call the Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline to talk about mental health. If you are a family member or carer worried about a loved one or need to talk to someone yourself, you can use it too.

The Helpline is open all day, every day, offering support and advice. This is a free and confidential service. Combat Stress are there for you if you are having a tough time, have trouble sleeping, have flashbacks, get depressed, get anxious sometimes or just feel that something is not quite right.

Call 0800 138 1619 / Text 07537 404 719 / E-mail

Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is required to maintain the health and wellbeing of its people primarily to ‘deliver and support military effect’. This ensures its people can deploy on operations and remain fully employed in their day to day role. For Service Personnel, the MOD must also meet the commitment of the Armed Forces Covenant, ensuring that Armed Forces personnel and their families are not disadvantaged within wider society, either during their time in the Service or in their lives beyond the military.

The Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of our Armed Forces, their families, veterans, and civilians. It builds on five years of health and wellbeing research and activity to establish the integration of mental and physical health. It is focused on promoting positive mental health and wellbeing; preventing and detecting mental health illness; and treating such illness when it is diagnosed.


Contact is a group of charities working with the NHS and MOD. They want to make it simpler for the military community to find support for their mental wellbeing.

Heads Together

Heads Together was launched to change the national conversation on mental health and tackle the stigma that prevents people from getting help, alongside developing a series of new mental health initiatives.

Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds

Hidden Wounds supports thousands of men and women and their families from the Armed Forces.

Kooth For Service Children & Young People

Children and young people who have a parent serving in the Armed Forces often have to move around the country, and overseas, with their family. They can attend several schools too, which means having to leave friends behind and then make new ones each time. Being part of an Armed Forces family can also mean long periods of separation from their Serving parent when they are deployed, on training courses or working in a different part of the country, away from the family home.

Kooth is available for children with a parent serving in the British Armed Forces, or working for the MoD or the British Government, in the UK or overseas. It is available to children and young people aged 11 until their 19th birthday.  It is a free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing platform which allows young people to chat with a friendly mental health practitioner, find support from a helpful community or access a range of self-help tools.

This programme is supported by the MoD.

Visit for more information and to access the service.


The mental health charity, who offer advice and run support groups for those affected by mental health problems. To find your nearest MIND, please visit their website.

NSPCC - support for children

Recognising the signs that a child may be struggling with their mental health can be really hard. The NSPCC have got advice to help you support children who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings or self-harm.


Service families living overseas may register with the Service’s Medical Centre to receive routine and emergency health care. Personnel should speak with their UPO for guidance on registering.


PAPYRUS is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. They provide confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their helpline, HOPELINEUK.

PANDAS - Perinatal mental health

PANDAS offer hope, empathy and support for every parent or network affected by perinatal mental illness. They offer a range of support services for you, your family and your wider network.

Project Regain (Royal Marines)

Having assigned to work at Hasler Company, a dedicated centre to professionally help with rehabilitation for serving personnel, as well as losing friends to suicide, Captain Ryan Morris set up Project Regain to promote early detection and help for Royal Marines who could suffer from mental health issues.

Royal Marines have the lowest rates of mental health problems within the UK Armed Services, but Regain aims to improve mental health awareness and reduce stigma. Evidence collected by the project suggested that commandos find it hard to ask for support when symptoms of illness like PTSD and depression first appear. Findings also show that lack of knowledge about mental health issues make it a hurdle to recognising a developing condition. This initiative will help Marines access treatments at the start of an issue, which can reduce the treatment timelines.

Overview of Regain
  • It gives individuals access to basic education about mental health symptoms and the ways in which to seek help.
  • It allows serving Royal Marines to refer themselves directly to specialists without the need to first go through their unit’s medical officer – all they need to do is pick up a phone and call the Department of Community Mental Health at Colchester (Tel: 01206 817 057/ Mil: 94660 7057) and from there they will be put straight through to a nurse who will arrange an appointment locally.
  • Most Royal Marines who seek help have eight to 12 sessions of talking therapy and then carry on their careers. All the treatment provided is confidential.
Further Information
Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS)

If you have any problems regarding well-being, please remember that RN FPS are here to support you, staffed by Service people and civilians from a variety of specialisations and offers advice, counselling and advocacy on a wide variety of issues, including mental health issues.

Suicide prevention and peer support in the armed forces: A pocket guide by the Samaritans

The Suicide prevention and peer support in the armed forces: A pocket guide by the Samaritans guide, jointly launched by Samaritans and the Ministry of Defence, gives advice on how to identify signs that someone may be having difficulties, suggests ways of offering support and gives information on where help can be found.

Togetherall (Formerly Big White Wall)

Navigating life as a military family can come with a hefty set of challenges and constantly changing circumstances, often out of your control. There’s no shame in prioritising your mental health and seeking a bit of extra support.


Togetherall (formally Big White Wall) is an online, anonymous, and safe support community where you can feel heard and understood. It has supported more than 16,000 members of the Armed Forces community, including family members, personnel, veterans and older Service children.


The free service has a 24/7 online community which is moderated by clinical professionals. There are subgroups you can join to connect in smaller spaces on topics that matter to you, and they also have a military specific group and one for parents and care-givers, where you can share experiences, and get support.

Young Minds (children's mental health)

Young Minds are leading the national charity for children and young people’s mental health. They have a helpline for parents and lots of useful information on their website.

Page created: 6th May, 2016
Last updated: 10th January, 2024