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Wellbeing

NFF News: World Mental Health Day (10th October, 2020)

Updated on National Stress Awareness Day (4th November, 2020)

 

Introducing Headspace – a new project specially for you

Dealing with challenges is part and parcel of Naval family life, but in these strange times, some non-serving members of our Naval families might benefit from some extra support.

Covid-19 has brought many additional new challenges. What if there was something you could carry in your pocket to help you navigate through whatever you are facing?

We believe that the Headspace App can help, by giving you the skills you need to be able to focus on your own health and wellbeing.

That’s why NFF, supported by RN FPS, are delighted to offer non-serving family members free access to the Headspace App for a twelve-month pilot, starting on 4th November 2020.

We hope Headspace can help you find a little joy in your everyday.

 

What is Headspace?

Headspace is a platform for mindful living, meaning you can take it with you on a walk, a run or you can even do a workout with one of the Headspace trainers. You can use it to help you get to sleep with guided sleepcasts and music, as well as all the mindfulness courses on any topic you can think of. There are even topics and courses for children. Headspace also partners with many sports institutions to support developing a performance mindset for athletes. It’s really a gym membership for your mind. Click here to read an information leaflet. More information can be found on their website.

 

 

What you need to do

Please read the note below before you click the button to sign up for your free Headspace account. There is also a FAQ section at the bottom of this page to guide you through the application process.

 

Important note – please read before signing up
  • Up to 3,000 Naval Service (regular and reserve) families will have free access to Headspace; our priority is for those families who will be most receptive to this support and most likely to make full use of it.
  • The licence gives registered family members free access to the Headspace app for 12 months starting from 4th November, 2020. The earlier you create your account, the more beneficial it will be.
  • You will be asked for a Service Number on the registration form, so that your eligibility as a non-serving member of a RN/RM/RFA family can be confirmed by the RN.**
  • Due to the limited numbers, we are only able to allocate one licence per Service number.
  • Once you have registered, and your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be contacted within 2 weeks with a link to create your account.
  • Only your name and email address will be shared with the Headspace team so that your account can be created.
  • More details about our privacy policy can be found here.
  • If you would like to know more about the support services that are available for families,  please visit our Mental Health pages.

 

**This particular service is only open to non-serving family members. If you are part of the serving community, you can access the free HeadFit for Life programme.

FAQ

We are aware of a small number of family members who have encountered some issues with their access to the Headspace App. If you do have any problems, please check the list below as hopefully the answer is here:

I’ve submitted my application but I’ve not received the link yet.

Q: I’ve submitted my application but I’ve not received the link yet.

 

A: If you have submitted an application for the App and haven’t heard from the NFF within two weeks, please check your junk/spam mailbox – once we have confirmed your eligibility, we are sending out the special enrolment link in an email which comes from noreply@nff.org.uk

I’ve received the email with the link, what do I do now?

Q: I’ve received the email with the link, what do I do now?

 

A: When you receive the email, please make sure that you click on the link and activate your account so that you can start to benefit from all of the great support that Headspace can offer.

How do I set up my account?

Q: How do I set up my account?

 

A: Please follow the below steps –

  1. Click on the enrolment link which can found at the bottom of the email we sent you (please check your spam inbox)
  2. When you get to the NFF page on the Headspace website, click on Login
  3. Enter your Headspace login details – remember to use the same information that you provided when you completed your application form
  4. Click Next
  5. When you reach step 2 of the verification process, make sure that you use the same email address that you entered on your application as this is what we used to enrol you on to the Headspace system
  6. You will then receive an email asking you to verify the account – you need to follow the steps right up until completion
  7. Now log out of the app and then log back in again.
  8. Now you can access 1000’s of different sessions and courses!

 

If you are still having problems once you’ve tried this, please contact the NFF team at contactus@nff.org.uk and we will get in touch with you to resolve it as soon as we can.

 

*CLOSED*

 

The NHS has launched a questionnaire and series of virtual events to explore how it can improve health and wellbeing support for the Armed Forces community in England. 

 

NHS Armed Forces Families Engagement poster for serving personnelWhilst most Armed Forces families enjoy healthy lives, the unique circumstances of military life can cause pressures for some and affect an individual’s health and wellbeing. This is in addition to moving home every few years, which can make accessing the NHS difficult. The NHS want to help change this, so Armed Forces families are able to access NHS services easily in all parts of England. The NHS also want to ensure that they can get care and support from clinicians and people who understand their health and wellbeing needs.

 

Anyone can share their views, however, the NHS is particularly keen to hear from serving, reserve and veteran families, people who are serving in or who have served in the British Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) and organisations working with or supporting the community. (Please see note at the bottom of this article)

 

Questionnaire –

 

Virtual events –

NHS Armed Forces Families Engagement posterIn addition to the online questionnaire, the NHS are also keen to engage directly with Service families. Unfortunately, they are not able to go out and meet with people face to face at the moment, so we have arranged a series on online events for serving RN/RM families instead, which we will be jointly hosting with the NHS team.  These will be small discussion groups* as we want everyone to have an opportunity to have their say and we have arranged events at different times to suit your needs.

 

If you can help us with this important piece of work, which will have an impact on the provision of Service families’ health and wellbeing in the future, please click on one of the links below to register.

 

 

*Please note that you can also remain anonymous during these online events, if you would prefer to. 

 

Note –

The Armed Forces Families Engagement Programme is a new NHS England initiative. However, the team are keen to hear from any Armed Forces family member who may want to contribute, wherever they live at the moment, as we are sure that many will still have had experiences of using NHS England services at some stage. We understand that NHS England intend to share the final report and outcomes of this programme with the NHS in the devolved administration areas too, so that they are aware of any local issues or feedback that our Service families may raise over the coming weeks.

 

Posted on: 30th September, 2020
Updated on: 1st December, 2020

 

A new helpline providing support for Service personnel experiencing or witnessing bullying, harassment or discrimination has been set up by the Ministry of Defence to clamp down on instances of unacceptable behaviour in the Armed Forces.

 

The helpline, which will go live in September, will be staffed 24/7 by trained bullying, harassment and discrimination advisers and qualified counsellors, who will provide emotional support, information and guidance to callers.

 

Individuals will be able to report incidents anonymously to independent advisers and seek help on how to take issues forward, including through local support networks or the service complaints system, where necessary.

 

Establishing the bullying and harassment helpline was one of the key recommendations of Air Chief Marshal Wigston’s review into behaviour across defence that was published last year. The report found that while the majority of personnel behave appropriately, there is still an unacceptable level of inappropriate behaviour in the military. Thirty-six recommendations were made as part of the report, all of which have been accepted by the Ministry of Defence.

 

To evaluate the success of current measures and ensure progress continues to be made at speed, an independent review of Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) anti-bullying work will be led by Danuta Gray, a Non-Executive Board Member and Chair of the People Committee at the MOD. In this role she has overseen processes for managing the careers of senior military officers and senior civil servants, with a specific focus on behaviour and incentives across Defence. The review will commence on the first anniversary of the Wigston review (Wednesday 15 July 2020) and will run for approximately 3 months.

 

Read the government’s press release here

 

Uploaded on: 2nd September, 2020

 

On the 1st September ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy families, will officially launch.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Naval Families Federation (NFF), in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. This project is supported by funding over the next three years from the Armed Forces Covenant. In addition to this, the RNRMC have also brought together funded projects from the Naval Children’s Charity, Aggie Weston’s and KIDS to provide a comprehensive support package to service families whenever and wherever they need it.

 

This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.

 

 

Professor Janet Walker, who has been instrumental in the project’s development, said:

“Increasingly, as Royal Navy families choose to live away from their home base, many are experiencing loneliness and social isolation, the absence of a military peer group who understand and share the same pressures, relationship difficulties caused by time spent apart during deployments and weekending, and the unpredictability of home-comings and family time.”

“‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ can break down the barriers to seeking support and will assist members of Navy families, wherever you live and whoever you are, to access confidential and personalised practical and emotional help.”

 

The importance of support for dispersed families was echoed by Anna Wright, CEO of NFF:

“From my perspective the most exciting aspect of this project is that it supports our dispersed community.  With 39% living away from bases, having located in every county in the UK, it is essential that RNRM families can access appropriate support on the ground. And being able to self-refer to this support as a naval family is vital. We are delighted to be working with a group of charities that are collaborative, flexible and committed to supporting the naval lifestyle.

 

Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC added:

“By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.”

 

Further information

For more information about the full range of support available and how to access it please visit: rnrmc.org.uk/how-we-help/families-and-relationships

 

Posted on: 1st September, 2020

UPDATE

As 2020 draws to a welcome close and we keep our fingers crossed for 2021, we’ve revamped the project in order to offer you a warm, welcoming Winter Glow. Please click here for more information.

On the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) is proud to announce the ‘Brighten Your Day’ project, funded by the Annington Trust.

 

We are grateful for our Armed Forces’ sacrifice to protect our nation and its interests. As we celebrate the end of conflict in Europe 75 years ago today, we are also proud to be in the corner of currently serving members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their families.

 

Our community is resourceful and resilient. Families and partners juggle work, childcare, finances, home responsibilities and everything else during periods when serving people are working away or deployed.

 

During the coronavirus pandemic, we recognise that there is additional pressure on currently serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families. The NFF has received funding from the Annington Trust to provide them with resources to support their resilience, to enhance coping strategies and to brighten a family’s day during COVID-19.

 

UPDATE

This project has been replaced by ‘Winter Glow’. Please click here for more information.

Gallery

Thank you for your positive feedback and on-going demand – here are some of the pictures featuring you! Please contact us with your photos as we would love to see them!

Posted on: 8th May, 2020
Updated on: 7th December, 2020

Whether it is ‘weekending’ or deployment, we understand that Royal Navy and Royal Marines families spend a considerable amount of time away from each other.

Pile of books including 'My Daddy's going away'

 

For the past 2 years, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) has been providing serving personnel and their families with book resources to help them during periods of separation and deployment.

 

Thanks to your positive feedback and ongoing demand, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has kindly agreed to fund a continuation of the project, which has been further enhanced with additional resources relevant to the current Covid-19 lockdown.

 

The project includes resources to assist with times of parental absence, relationships, parenting, anxiety, bereavement and more.

 

Guidelines for provision of books/ resources

  • Full list of books from the NFF family resource projectA maximum of one book for each child/ family member of currently serving Royal Navy/ Royal Marines personnel.
  • You will be asked to provide your (or your serving person’s) Service number for eligibility purposes.
  • While every effort will be made to process orders quickly, this project is not supported by any additional staffing resource, so please be patient with us.
  • Provision of particular titles is subject to availability.
  • Please note that during the current COVID – 19 situation there may be a slight delay.
Posted on: 4th May, 2020

 

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) is delighted to announce the launch of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. This project is supported by funding from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), as well as funds awarded by the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the RNRMC and the NFF, in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. Initial funding of project activities, provided by the RNRMC and the Armed Forces Covenant, is to be rolled out over the next three years. The offer aims to provide comprehensive support to Naval Service families whenever and wherever they need it.

 

This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.  The RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report highlighted that dispersed Naval Service families, i.e. families distributed throughout the country, are less likely than those who live close to base ports to be aware of available help and support and far more likely to have difficulties accessing the support available.

 

The project also seeks to tackle problems reported by Naval Service personnel and their families to the Naval Families Federation and the Royal Navy Chaplaincy. These can include a sense of isolation, relationship and parenting issues or mental health difficulties.

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation said:

‘We are delighted to have been involved in this vital initiative, particularly in the case of our isolated families.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines families are more widely dispersed than those of our sister Services, which brings its own challenges in terms of mutual support, gleaning information and access to the range of services that are available to families near base ports and other Naval establishments.

This kind of partnership between ourselves, the RNRMC and other stakeholders points to a potentially more effective way of using scare resources to greater effect.’

 

Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC said:

‘By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.’

 

More information about Strengthening Families – By Your Side will be coming soon to our website.

 

Posted on: 6th March, 2020

 

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity announced the release of a new survey report written by the FANDF committee. This powerful report shares the voices of this sometimes-overlooked Additional Needs and Disability community within the Armed Forces. This is the first time that this demographic has shared these insights and their experiences in an official capacity with the Ministry of Defence.

 

Under the MOD’s Defence and Inclusion (D&I) strategy, efforts are being made to shine a light into every corner of the Forces community. In order to better support these families, their opinions and personal experiences have been collated and their own on-the-ground-recommendations are being shared.

 

Key report findings:

  • Lack of a ‘normal’ family routine caused by military lifestyle leaves those families with additional needs and disabilities struggling to climb waiting lists and access specialist services required
  • Children’s education can suffer as stretched local authorities subconsciously under-resource support for children who will ‘move on’ shortly. The report finds ongoing issues with obtaining an educational diagnosis and support for children, according to 29% of respondents surveyed
  • Access to continuity of health care is a big concern, with health and educational records taking time to be transferred and those families claiming access to support having to start again from scratch every time they move
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder is the most common additional need identified by 48% of respondents, and specialist support for military families dealing with this is necessary

 

Click here to read the report in full. 

 

Posted on: 27th January, 2020

Researchers at King’s College London are carrying out a new study into maternal mental health in the Armed Forces community. Findings from the study will be used to help those providing care to spouses and partners of UK Armed Forces personnel, including NHS and Defence healthcare professionals, Armed Forces charities, community and welfare teams, and perinatal health organisations. It is hoped that this will lead to improvements in services for spouses and partners of Service personnel during and after pregnancy.  

Background

Pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby signifies a period of unprecedented change, excitement and hope for the future for most women. However, for some, it can be a particularly difficult time due to mental health issues, which may arise during or after pregnancy.  The spouses and partners of Armed Forces personnel may be at increased risk of developing a mental health problem in the perinatal period (pregnancy and up to 12 months following birth) as they are exposed to unique factors associated with this unique lifestyle. 

However, we know very little about what pregnancy and early motherhood is like for UK Armed Forces spouses and partners, with the majority of available evidence coming from the US. 

About this study

The study is being supported by the three Families Federations and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project is being conducted via an online survey.

To take part in the study, participants should be: 

  • Currently pregnant (by a minimum of 12-weeks) or up to12 months postnatal 
  • 16 years old or above 
  • NHS registered  
  • Currently living in the UK  
  • In a relationship (married/civil partnership or other) 
  • Partner currently on regular or Full-time Reserve Service (FTRS) in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army or Royal Air Force OR in full-time civilian employment  

Please click this link to participate in the research.

Get in touch

If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:  

Posted on: 22nd January, 2020

In July 2019, the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations took the opportunity to submit a joint response to the Department for Education’s call for evidence: ‘Provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and for those who need additional provision: how the financial arrangements work’.

 

The Naval Families Federation advocates on behalf of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families and we support the view that children’s education should not be disadvantaged by their parent’s Service.  In our submission we highlight some of the key issues and challenges that can arise for Armed Forces children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and suggested a number of recommendations, based on evidence gathered by the three Families Federations. The full report can be accessed here.

 

Posted on: 12th August, 2019