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Mental health and wellbeing

This element of the Healthy Soldier Toolbox contains factsheets and links to a number of websites that can provide you with greater awareness of Mental Health related topics. It is also important to note that there are a number of organisations that support military personnel and veterans, a small number of these are listed at the bottom of this page.

Each and every one of us are different, in that we have different coping mechanisms; we face different daily challenges and pressures and we have varied home environments that we have to balance with work. All of these factors affect our mental health and wellbeing.

The following are five steps can help with improvements in mental wellbeing:

  • Connect - connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
  • Be active - you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
  • Keep learning - learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that course you have always wanted to do.
  • Give to others - even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Be mindful - be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness 'mindfulness'. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Where to go for help and advice

There is an abundance of advice available. Your first point of call should be your friends and family, your TRiM Practitioner, chain of command, unit medical officer, welfare officer or chaplain if you are in the UK or overseas. They are there to help and offer the best confidential advice. Contact numbers for medical out of hours support are available through your medical centre.

Further support can be found through Rethink Mental Illness or Combat Stress which offers a 24 hour freephone helpline if you have concerns about your mental health. The number to call is 0800 138 1619. They provide emotional support, a listening ear and signposting service for veterans.

The Big White Wall which provides safe, anonymous support to anyone struggling with a range of common mental health issues, or who feels burdened by everyday worries and concerns. It is free for all serving personnel, veterans, and their families and is available 24/7.

Mind are a mental health charity that also provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.