Charity expands training in response to rising poor mental wellbeing

A FREE training course aimed at helping members of the military community to identify and deal with the symptoms of poor mental wellbeing is being opened to thousands more people.

With around one in six adults in the UK experiencing some form of depression (ONS, 2021) – seven per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels – the Royal Air Forces Association is opening its Finding it Tough? training course to all civilians working in conjunction with the RAF.

The course, which launched in 2020, was originally designed for the partners of serving RAF personnel. Within months of going live, huge demand from the veteran community led to the training being opened to former personnel.

Now, with the charity determined to support as many members of the RAF community as possible, anyone who works as an RAF civilian contractor or as a volunteer supporting someone in the RAF community is eligible to take part.

The RAF Association’s Director of Welfare and Wellbeing, Rory O’Connor, said:

“Recognising that our country is facing a growing mental wellbeing crisis, our charity felt that our hugely popular and well-received course could benefit thousands more people.

“A new bespoke version of our unique online training course has been developed, and we’re now encouraging anyone who supports the RAF in their career, either as a civilian contractor or in a volunteer role, to sign up.”

The 2.5-hour course will sit alongside the charity’s training programmes already on offer to RAF veterans and their families, and the family members (aged 18 and over) of anyone currently serving in the RAF.

The programmes aim to equip people to be more resilient to life’s pressures, and to help them to identify and support others struggling with mental wellbeing issues. Trainees are also equipped with skills to signpost relatives, friends and colleagues to more specialist help and support.

Liana Cunliffe (40), of Burton-on-Trent, whose partner is an RAF Aircraft Technician serving overseas, recently undertook the online Finding it Tough? training.

She said:

“The course was beautifully done. It was really well-organised, the material was extremely helpful and was divided into bite-sized pieces that were easy to understand.

“The small-group online session meant that participants could share some of our own thoughts and ideas, and feel reassured that we were not alone.

“Touch wood, I’ve never needed to support my partner with his mental wellbeing, but I now feel well-equipped to look out for any signs of difficulties. I also know how to ask him the right questions and provide signposting to specialist help, should the need arise.”

The expansion of the course to civilian RAF support workers and volunteers is being made possible by funding provided by aerospace and defence companies Boeing, Leonardo and MBDA.

For more information about the RAF Association’s Finding it Tough? training, and to book a place on the course, visit:

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