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Mental Health

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.

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

 

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

Please visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk/Regain for more information, or read a short summary of this initiative in Homeport magazine (Summer ’19, p.32).

 

 

Posted on: 13th May, 2019
Updated on: 18th June, 2019

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 Naval Service 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.

 

Implementation

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. The implementation began in early 2019 – 25 trailblazer areas across England to provide expert mental health support to almost half a million children and young people every year. 59 new Mental Health Support Teams are now undergoing training at seven universities nationwide, with plans to be operational by December 2019.

 

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.

 

The Current Trailblazer Areas

North

  • Doncaster CCG & Rotherham CCG
  • Liverpool CCG
  • Newcastle Gateshead CCG
  • Northumberland CCG
  • North Kirklees CCG & Greater Huddersfield CCG
  • South Tyneside CCG
  • Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

 

Midlands & East

  • Herts Valley CCG & East and North Herts CCG
  • North Staffordshire CCG
  • Rushcliffe CCG and Nottingham North and East CCG
  • South Warwickshire CCG
  • Stoke on Trent CCG

 

South East

  • Buckinghamshire CCG
  • Berkshire West CCG
  • North Kent CCG grouping: Swale and Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCGs
  • Oxfordshire CCG

 

South West

  • Gloucestershire CCG
  • Swindon CCG

 

London

  • Bromley CCG
  • Camden CCG
  • Haringey CCG
  • Hounslow CCG
  • South West London HCP: Wandsworth and Sutton and Merton CCGs
  • Tower Hamlets CCG
  • West London CCG

 

 

Further Expansion

The trailblazer sites are made up of the NHS and key local stakeholders, including schools and colleges, local authorities and third sector organisations and will be rolled out to between one-fifth and one quarter of the country by 2023/24. Plans for further expansion of this service has also been set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

 

The NFF welcomes the introduction of the new services. Please do contact us if you would like to share your comments.

 

Posted on: 5th February, 2018
Last Updated on: 25th January, 2019

HALO survey

The Helping Armed Forces Loved Ones Survey (the ‘HALO’ survey) aims to better understand the needs and experiences of people who are worried about the mental health of a loved one who services or has served in the Armed Forces.

 

The second wave of the study is now underway. This part of the study focuses on mood swings.

 

If this sounds like something that may be relevant to you, please take 10 minutes or so to complete the confidential online survey. Upon completion, you can opt in to enter into a prize draw to win one of 5 Amazon gift vouchers (worth up to £50). The survey is here.

 

 

Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds

The HALO survey is part of a bigger HALO study that gives you the option to seek support directly from Help for Heroes ‘Hidden Wounds’ programmes. ‘Hidden Wounds’ can help if you are worried about the mental health of a family member, partner or loved one serving in the Armed Forces. It can help you, too, if you are worried about the effect of their mental health on your own wellbeing. To find out more visit the website and use the contact form or email.

 

HALO social media

Facebook

Twitter

 

Posted on: 5th November, 2018
Updated on: 30th January, 2019

Thank you to everyone who responded to our recent survey about mental health for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. Your feedback is extremely valuable and helps us to represent accurately your views and experiences. The results of the survey are here.

 

This survey was carried out to assist the House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) with its current inquiry into the Mental Health of the Armed Forces. The Committee makes recommendations for change. On 25 July 2018 it published Part 1 of its report into the Mental Health of the Armed Forces, which considers the scale of mental health issues. The Naval Families Federation provided evidence for this report. The Committee accepted our view that mental health should be considered in a holistic way, rather than focusing solely on the serving person. We want to find out more about the impact of military service and lifestyles on the mental health of family members, to make sure you are properly supported. Part 1 of the Committee’s report acknowledges that families’ mental health can be affected by the stresses of Service life and by traumatic events experienced by their military partners. It makes a number of recommendations, including that the Ministry of Defence, in conjunction with the health departments of the four nations, places a greater focus on Service and veterans’ families as part of its mental health care provision. This should include supporting further research into the mental health of current and former Service families to determine what provision is needed. The Ministry of Defence should also monitor how this provision is applied across the UK as part of its annual report on the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

You can read Part 1 of the HCDC report here and our evidence here. We will keep you up to date with any further developments as they happen.

 

Posted on: 5th September, 2018

 

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:

Accessing NHS Services

To find out about NHS services in your area, contact your GP (for both adults and children), or search the NHS website for adult self-referral services through your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).

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. You can visit their website here.

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 helpline@combatstress.org.uk.

Contact

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. Find out more here.

 

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.

You can read the document in full here.

 

Emotional first aid for children

Emotional first aid for children runs training courses for teachers supporting children. Costs £300 per person – the same as Service Pupil Premium (SPP) for one child in a school in England.

 

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.

 

Mind

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.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

If you are due to leave the Naval Service, the TILS will work with the MOD to offer you mental health support through your transition period and beyond. The TILS provides a range of treatment and can help with housing, employment, alcohol misuse and social support. Find out more in this booklet here.

 

Overseas

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.

Project Regain

Regain is an initiative masterminded by a serving Royal Marines Captain, which aims to improve mental health awareness and reduce stigma. This initiative will help Royal Marines access treatments at the start of an issue, which can reduce the treatment timelines.

 

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.

 

See, Hear, Respond

The See, Hear, Respond Partnership is a service funded by the Department for Education. With your help, the See, Hear, Respond Partnership will quickly identify and support children, young people and families who are struggling to cope with the impacts of coronavirus.

 

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

The 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. You can access it here.

The Black Dog Institute

The Black Dog Institute is an Australia-based not-for-profit organisation and world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.  Information and superb resources for teachers and those working with young people, including Headstrong 2.0 which can be downloaded free of charge.

The Recovery Pathway

This leaflet provides a guide to recovery for all wounded, injured and sick Naval Service personnel and their families. It details each stage of the recovery progress, looks at temporary employability during the Recovery Pathway, and lists the contact details for numerous support organisations.

 

Togetherall (Formerly Big White Wall)

Togetherall is an online early intervention service for people in psychological distress. It combines social networking principles with a choice of clinically informed interventions to improve mental wellbeing. It can be accessed 24/7 and has staff who ensure the full engagement, safety and anonymity of all members.

Togetherall is a community of people who are experiencing common mental health problems who are supported to self-manage their own mental health. According to members, one of the most important elements of the service is the ability to talk freely, whilst remaining completely anonymous.

Togetherall has won multiple awards for its services, and its LiveTherapy service is CQC registered. It is free to join for Regular and Reserve members of the Armed Forces and their family members.

 

Young Minds

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.

Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 3rd November, 2020