Free Counselling for RAF personnel and veterans
Since 1919 the RAF Benevolent Fund has provided support and assistance to the RAF Family.
The RAF Benevolent Fund offers a range of support services to all serving RAF personnel, veterans and their dependants including grants to help with financial difficulties, support for young people and assistance with care needs.
Supporting the morale and wellbeing of RAF personnel, veterans and Reservists is an important focus for the charity. This is why the RAF Benevolent Fund is working in partnership with Relate to provide access to free relationship support and counselling.
What can Relate help with?
We know that serving in the RAF can add extra pressures on relationships. Coping with a demanding role or long stretches of time apart, on top of keeping work and home life together can be tough.
We also know that returning to civilian life after serving in the RAF can be difficult and cause strain on couples and families.
But relationship issues can happen at any time, not just in the immediate months after leaving the RAF.
This is why all of the counselling support options are available to RAF personnel, veterans, Reservists and their families too.
What’s on offer?
Whether you’re facing difficulties in your relationship or you’d just like to get to know your partner better, Relationship Counselling can make a real difference.
Counselling provides a supportive, confidential and caring environment in which you can talk over any problems and think about ways to address them.
Up to six Relationship Counselling sessions are available.
Families can be a source of support, encouragement and love but sometimes relationships within families are put under strain and family members feel isolated or overlooked.
Family Counselling can include nuclear and extended family members, separated parents, children and step-families attending together or at different times. The focus is on the family system and improving the relationships in the family.
Up to six Family Counselling sessions are available.
Sex Therapy can help if you’re experiencing difficulties in your love life and can help you to improve physical intimacy.
RAF personnel, veterans, Reservists and their partners can access up to 20 free sessions.
Children and Young People’s Counselling
Young People’s Counselling is for any young person who is having problems and over the age of 11. Whether it’s depression, anger issues, mental health concerns or issues with parents or people at school.
Children of RAF personnel, veterans and Reservists can access up to 12 free sessions.
To find out more about CYP Counselling please contact: 0300 222 5703.
Separating permanently can be a very stressful time especially when there are children involved. Relate offers a comprehensive professional mediation service to enable clients to reach agreement on financial, property/asset and child access issues. The service is part-funded by the RAF Benevolent Fund.
To access this service or to find out more contact: 01302 347476.
Online relationship support
The Building Stronger Families platform is a free offering, exclusively for serving Royal Air Force personnel and their families. The platform consists of an online portal containing self-help topics including interactive content and videos with each topic designed specifically to support relationships and families of the RAF. Topics include:
- Me, You and the Military
- Being a Couple
- Resolving Conflict
- Sexual Communication & Intimacy
- Family Life & Parenting
Building Stronger Families aims to equip you and your family with effective communication skills and to develop meaningful strategies to make the best out of your relationships.
You can choose to only do the topics which apply to your situation and you can do this in the privacy of your own home.
You may want to have a look around the portal if you are thinking about counselling but are not ready to access it yet.
To view the portal go to: https://rafbf.learnupon.com
How is counselling delivered?
All the available services can be delivered over the phone, by video call or face-to-face*, meaning you can get in touch whichever way suits you best, even if you are deployed overseas.
Who is eligible to access the support services?
All Relate counselling support services are available to serving RAF personnel, veterans, Reservists and their dependants. Whether you’re married, living together, in a same-sex relationship, separated, divorced, widowed or single, we can help.
Are these services confidential?
Relate counselling is a private and confidential form of help. We hold information about each of our clients and the counselling they receive in confidence. This means that we will not normally give your name or any information about you to anyone outside the organisation. However, there are exceptional cases where Relate might ethically or legally have to give information to relevant authorities, for example, if we had reason to believe that someone, especially a child, is at serious risk of harm or to prevent a miscarriage of justice. We will discuss any proposed disclosure with you unless we believe that to do so could increase the level of risk to you or to someone else.
Where Relate are providing the counselling on behalf of an employer/funder, the employer/funder may provide Relate with a unique reference number for each client. This allows Relate to work with the employer/funder, where a client may require further sessions and Relate need to seek permission to do so by providing the unique reference number and a rationale. In all cases, the confidential details of the sessions will not be shared with the employer/funder.
How to access the services
Contact Relate Mid and East Surrey in total confidence to speak with a trained Relate consultant who will talk you through the options and next steps.
“We didn’t go to Relate because we had real problems in our marriage – it was just an MOT really. We tend to be united on the big stuff but bicker and argue about silly small stuff and our communication starts to break down.
“The Relate counsellor was great in getting us to reset things, really stop and listen and notice each other. In doing that we started to value each other more, make time for each other and the silly, petty grievances just stopped.
“I’d recommend anyone who can should go to see a marriage counsellor. It will really help your relationship. I think this is one of the most important things the Fund does.”