Mental health courses offered to RAF families

Families of serving personnel can benefit from training to help them spot the signs of mental health issues, thanks to a military charity.

The RAF Association, which supports the wellbeing of the RAF family, is funding the programme at RAF Digby, RAF Wittering, RAF Scampton, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Odiham.

One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, and research suggests that military personnel are less likely to seek support.

The Half-Day Adult Mental Health First Aid Course is the first course to be offered to partners and spouses of serving RAF personnel and civilian staff contracted to work on stations. Teachers of children whose parents serve in the RAF can also take advantage of the course.

The training programme, which was launched earlier this year, was made possible through grants from the Postcode Community Trust and the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Mental Health Promotion Fund.

RAF Association Area Director Ailsa Gough, who has undertaken the training, said:

“We feel it’s vital to provide to support the families of those serving their country in the RAF, and so we’re very pleased to offer this programme at so many stations.” 

“I have taken part in one of these sessions myself and, in my voluntary role as a befriender to veterans, it has given me a better understanding of how I may help people in need.” 

The dates and locations for the courses are:

  • 14 June – RAF Digby, Lincolnshire
  • 20 June – RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire
  • 9 July – RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire
  • 27, 28 and 29 August – RAF Lossiemouth, North East Scotland
  • 11 and 12 September – RAF Odiham, Hampshire

The RAF Association successfully piloted the course at RAF Benson and RAF Valley in 2017, with participants saying they had a better understanding of mental health issues affecting people, and the signs to look out for.

To register your interest in any of the courses on offer, email welfare@rafa.org.uk

Notes to editors

Alex Scoppie, Communications Officer, RAF Association – 0116 268 8755 or alex.scoppie@rafa.org.uk 

About the Royal Air Forces Association

The Royal Air Forces Association (or RAF Association) is a membership organisation and registered charity that provides welfare support to the RAF family.

The Association recognises that RAF personnel and their immediate families dedicate their lives to their country, and we believe that such a sacrifice should not result in suffering, poverty or loneliness.

Whether it’s an injured airman or woman fighting to get back on their feet, a young child missing their parent away on overseas operations, or a World War II veteran needing a shoulder to lean on, we are here to help all generations of RAF personnel and their families. We also support serving families if they need us. We give practical, emotional and financial support.

Our membership of 74,000 includes serving RAF personnel, veterans and members of the public who want to show their support for the work that we do.

Across the UK in 2017 the Association carried out more than 115,000 welfare contacts, calls and visits, helped tell thousands of bedtime stories to children whose parents were away on operations, and gave tailored holidays to 2,500 RAF veterans, widows and family at our Wings Breaks hotels.

Our support ranges from simply providing conversation and friendship to preparing and submitting application forms for financial assistance.

Charity numbers: 226686 (England and Wales), SCO37673 (Scotland).

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