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There are many ways to get the help and support you need, before, during and after the operational deployment of your serving family member.
Even if deployment may feel like a long way off, it's a good to start preparing.
Deployment is undeniably a very emotional experience for everyone, whether you’re the family holding the fort at home, or you’re the one being deployed.
At this stage it’s advisable to start recognising and acknowledging that certain emotions will start to come to the surface. Feelings of anger, resentment and underlying tension commonly characterise this part of the pre-deployment period. It’s important to remember that these feelings are perfectly normal and are felt by the people around you.
This is therefore the perfect time to start making connections (if you haven’t already) with the people like you who are in a similar situation. Building a strong support network that will be invaluable during deployment.
See what to do in a family emergency.
For non-emergency enquiries you can contact your assigned single Point of Contact (POC).
There are now many methods of communication which are getting better with time and technology.
Full instructions on sending mail (including parcels) to British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses is on the GOV.UK website.
Obtained from the Post Office or the HIVE and can be sent FREEPOST to most British Forces Post Office (BFPO) numbers.
Full instructions on sending Blueys is on the GOV.UK website.
The INtouch service enables Personnel on operations to send and receive letters originally sent via email, in hard copy form.
Despite the growing availability of WiFi and social media networks and apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype and iMessage, deployed Personnel overseas still highly value receiving physical mail.
Find out how to quickly register for an account on GOV.UK.
Your deployed partner will be able to receive and send emails from dedicated email terminals on most deployments.
Skype can be used by most deployed personnel depending on bandwidth restrictions or sensitive areas of operation.
The HIVE Keeping In Touch Booklet (PDF, 836KB) has more info on your options.
To prepare for the return of your partner you can download and read Coming Home (PDF, 656KB) and Return & Reunion (PDF, 1.34MB).
Should you and your partner find that you are struggling to adjust to their return, you may wish to consider some relationship counselling. The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund has a contract with Relate, to provide up to 6 free sessions with a Relationship Counsellor; full details are on the RAF Benevolent Fund website.
HIVE staff are there to provide support and practical guidance before, during and after deployments.
Also download and read Looking after yourself during your partner's deployment (PDF, 140KB)
The RAF has a contract with SSAFA to provide a Personal Support and Social Work Service. This ‘one-stop shop’ is for Regular, Reserve Personnel and their families.
They are ready to offer emotional or practical support during your partner’s deployment, wherever you live, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Phone: 03000 111 723
If you would rather not talk to somebody, but want to ‘sound off’ to a trusted member of SSFA staff, please email them on psswsRAF@ssafa.org.uk.
My Daddy's Going Away, written by a serving Army Officer, helps children understand the issues surrounding separation in a fun and informative way. The My Daddy's Going Away website has tips for families dealing with the separation.
Also read Help for Parents & Children during deployment (PDF, 6.37MB).
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