These are difficult times and we need to consider carefully how we look after each other and ourselves.
Here are some emerging hints, tips and wider guidance to help all our personnel get through these challenging times.
(This is an extract from the full Thriving at Work Booklet, which can be found on SharePoint - internal users only).
Infectious disease outbreaks like the current COVID 19 can be unsettling, very disruptive and affect both our wellbeing and mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
If you or a colleague would like support, there are multiple channels for you to find help:
· SSAFA (SWS) has very experienced professionals and can be reached on your local station or through the helpline - 03000 111 723.
· The RAF Association has an extended local network, accessible through your Hive or Community Support team, or you can reach RAFA helpers on their hotline - 0800 018 2361.
o A telephone outreach service is now available which will proactively support the RAF community in checking on their welfare and offer them regular contact (telephone or online).
o A friendship helpline is available for anyone in the RAF community to call if they are feeling isolated, in need of more specific support or simply want a chat with someone friendly who understands.
o There is a daily RAF-themed online entertainment slot that people can look forward to as part of their routine while they are isolating, from quizzes to live-streamed sing-a-longs and armchair fitness sessions.
· A support programme including a listening and counselling service is available through the RAF Benevolent Fund - 0300 102 1919. IBN 3/20 refers.
· If you're not ready to talk, the RAF Benevolent Fund can help through the mindfulness app 'Headspace' If you are a currently serving member of the RAF (regular or reserve) and you would like to request a Headspace membership please email firstname.lastname@example.org from your MoD email account, quoting your service number.
· Combat Stress has a 24-hour helpline - 0800 323 4444
· Samaritans is free to call on 116123; email email@example.com or visit Samaritans.org
· If in a crisis please ring NHS 111 or go straight to A&E.
Personnel and emotional support should continue to be sought, in the first instance from within the chain of Command and where directed from other specialist staff. There will be specific unit level measures in place to deal with COVID-19, however Personnel staffs, Station Chaplains, Station Medical Staffs and specialist welfare staffs such as SSAFA social workers are available to speak too and provide support as required. Useful welfare and community information is also available on the RAF Hive Facebook page:
Individuals who do not have access to MODNET or other MOD Comms should access the NHS COVID 19 and Public Health England websites for up-to-date information.
It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media. Where you are working from home or social distancing there are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time.
Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/easy-low-impact-exercises/ or other online fitness apps such as The Body Coach or the Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill app.
There are also sources of support and information that can help, such as the NHS Every Mind Matters web platform which is a useful site of information that provides information to help you manage and maintain your mental health and gives simple and practical advice on how to get a healthier mind, how to deal with stress and anxiety how to boost your mood or sleep better.
A number of Mental Health charities such as The Big White Wall:
There is more, in the rest of the booklet, which is provided at the link below, including guidance on loneliness, isolation, crowded living, looking after yourself, looking after children, and constructive working at home.