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Wellbeing Tag

NHS England is seeking to improve the health and wellbeing support provided to military families, and your views are helping to shape that plan. The NHS in England provides healthcare services for families of serving personnel – regulars and reservists – who have registered with an NHS GP practice. But not everyone in the NHS understands the specific health needs of Armed Forces families, and what they are entitled to under the Armed Forces Covenant. That can mean, in some cases, that such families have problems getting the right care and support, which can lead to further challenges and difficulties.

 

Armed Forces community support networks have been set up in some parts of the country, focussing on improving their experience of health services, and feedback from families with experience of such networks has been positive. But in many areas such links are more informal and not as well-developed, so one strand of the engagement exercise was to explore whether setting up more networks might help.

 

The engagement took place for two months from the end of September 2020, supported by a questionnaire and a series of online focus groups and one-to-one interviews. More than 160 organisations were contacted directly to encourage responses, and with the supporting media also playing its part, a total of 1,391 responses were received by the NHS. Armed Forces families contributed 424 responses, and more than 80 per cent of the respondents were aged between 26 and 65. Just under 20 per cent of the respondents were from, or had links to, the Royal Navy or Royal Marines.

 

Now the results have been analysed, the NHS is embarking on a programme of actions under the heading ‘you said, we will do…’

 

One general theme that emerged was that Armed Forces families believed they would benefit from more information and dedicated support to help them find and access NHS services, and that a person acting as a single point of contact outside the chain of command, rather than an array of documents and leaflets, would be more helpful. And one line of thought is that community support networks could fulfil the function of a single point of contact, as well as helping NHS organisations understand the military culture and lifestyle, as well as the implications of the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Furthermore, reducing waiting times as a result of moving bases and more joined-up communication between NHS organisations and between the NHS and Defence Medical Services (DMS) would ensure that Armed Forces families do not repeatedly have to start the referral process every time they move.

 

Respondents also indicated that better understanding from NHS staff, particularly from GPs, would make accessing services easier.

 

These findings have been shared with decision makers to help shape what support could be put in place for Armed Forces families in the future – and although this engagement has been completed, the NHS will continue to seek the views and experiences of Armed Forces families to ensure that any future support put in place meets their needs. The findings will be considered by the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Oversight Group (AFOG), who will look at what actions are needed to progress improvements in this area.

 

Agreed actions will be progressed in collaboration with the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice Group, Armed Forces families/Armed Forces community, the Naval Families Federation and our two sister groups in the Army and RAF, the wider NHS, Department of Health and Social Care and Ministry of Defence.

NHS report: 'You said, we will do'
Click here to access the 'You said we will do' report.
Front cover of the NHS report
Click here to access the research findings.
Posted on: 13th September, 2021

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.

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 because of Covid-19.

 

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.

 

England

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is delivered by NHS England in partnership with a range of specialist providers. A map which provides more information about the services available can be found here.

 

Scotland

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.

 

Wales

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

This site 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. 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.

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.

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.

Headspace

The RN is offering all serving personnel (Regular, Reserve and RFA) and their families free access to the Headspace App.

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.

NSPCC

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.

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.

Papyrus

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.

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 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. You can access it here.

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: 9th February, 2022