Relationship counselling proving effective in reducing depression

Tuesday 10 October marks World Mental Health Day

Newly released statistics from the RAF Benevolent Fund have revealed that a significant number of RAF personnel attending relationship counselling report that their mental well-being improved following the completion of counselling.

The data comes from the most recent evaluation report of the Fund’s counselling programme, which is offered in partnership with Relate to all serving RAF personnel, free of charge. The service, which the charity funds to the tune of more than £100k per annum, has helped thousands of couples since it began nine years ago and more than 65 couples have accessed the counselling in the first half of 2017 alone.

According to the report, 43% of Relate’s RAF clients indicated they were psychologically depressed at the start of their counselling, which is higher than the proportion of Relate’s civilian clients experiencing depression.

Impressively, 63% of those considered clinically depressed at the start of their counselling were no longer clinically distressed by the end of counselling, a ‘recovery rate’ significantly better than that reported by most mental health services funded through the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon, Director of Welfare and Policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund said: “The counselling that Relate provides in partnership with the RAF Benevolent Fund is bespoke to the specific needs and lifestyle challenges faced by RAF personnel, making it extremely effective. However overall, there’s still a long way to go in terms of removing the stigma around mental health.

“Considering the high number of clients showing signs of depression at the start of counselling, just 16% indicated mental health as an issue causing difficulty in their relationship. The RAF Benevolent Fund is working tirelessly alongside partners like Relate and Anxiety UK to help remove the stigma and encourage serving personnel and veterans to open up about mental health issues.”

The RAF Benevolent Fund funds up to six counselling sessions with Relate for serving personnel and/or their partners experiencing relationship problems. You can use the service if you are married, living together, in a same-sex relationship, separated, divorced, single or widowed.

For more information or to access the service, call 0845 077 5556 or email quoting your service number.


For more information and high res images please contact:

Ashley Tilley, PR Officer, RAF Benevolent Fund

E: | T:020 7307 335 | M: 07885 466198


RAF Benevolent Fund: The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity. We exist to support current and former members of the RAF, their partners and dependants, whenever they need us. In 2016 we spent £17.6m supporting more than 65,000 members of the RAF Family. For more information visit: Twitter:

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