There is always help available, however difficult or urgent the problem.
For serving personnel, there are various people in your unit who can help you with an urgent problem. Depending on your branch of the service and where you are, sources of help can include your unit admin staff, your chain of command including the RN Division system, and your unit chaplain or padre.
Depending on the problem, some of the following specialised contacts may also be able to help. Most of them are available both to serving personnel and to veterans, as well as families.
Royal Navy - Advice and Support
"You’re not alone when you’re a member of the Service community. Whether you’re spending time away from family, relocating to a new area or conducting a long-distance relationship, there’s advice and support available to help you. The majority is provided by the Royal Navy Family and People Support (RN FPS) team, while charities also offer important services."
Army - Ask For Help
"THERE'S ALWAYS SOMEONE TO TALK TO. Mental health can seem complex, knowing where to turn for information can be daunting... Speak to your mates, friends or family, talk to your boss or padre, chat to your unit welfare staff, medical officer or GP." With information on "a variety of military and civilian services that can offer help, advice or signpost you to the most appropriate source of help."
SSAFA Forcesline (including AWOL)
"Our team are here to listen and not to judge. We can give you useful information and signpost ways to help you. Forcesline is a free and confidential telephone helpline and email service that provides support for serving (regulars and reserves), ex-Forces and for their families. SSAFA is outside of the military chain of command, will listen and we will not judge. Your privacy when seeking help is fundamentally important to us." Now includes a live online chat option.
Samaritans - contact us (or call 116 123 in UK or ROI)
"If you need someone to talk to, we listen. We won't judge or tell you what to do." Contact Samaritans by phone, email or letter, or try a self help app.
Combat Stress 24 Hour Helpline
If you have served or are currently serving in the UK Armed Forces, you can call the Combat Stress’ 24-hour mental health helplines.
Self help guides from Combat Stress
These self-help guides have been developed by the specialist mental health clinicians working at Combat Stress in collaboration with veterans. The series has been specifically designed to provide guidance and support to former servicemen and women experiencing mental health issues.
Your rights if you're accused under the service justice system
Official leaflets explaining your rights if you are accused of an offence under the service justice system.
Free ('pro bono') court martial legal representation for BAFF members
Legal representation, at no cost to the member, for any BAFF full subscribing member charged with an offence likely to be dealt with at Court Martial. Also covers basic initial advice to any member approached by historic inquiries related to military operations, even as a witness.
Centre for Military Justice
"The Centre for Military Justice provides free, independent, expert legal services to serving or former members of the Armed Forces or their bereaved families."
Armed Forces Human Rights Helpline by 'Liberty' for current and former service personnel and their families only
Dedicated legal advice phone line by campaign group Liberty for serving and former members of the UK Armed Forces. "The Helpline is designed to provide some initial advice or sign-posting for those who need it. It aims to alleviate some of the complexity of the military legal system and provide free legal advice."
Afghanistan - Support for Veterans
If you are struggling as a result of the recent events in Afghanistan, there is support available across the United Kingdom for veterans and those affected. (Info from UK Gov)
Some help links on financial matters:
Some more help sources on mental health:
- in England, veterans and their families in England can get specialist help from the NHS Op COURAGE service
- in Wales, you can reach out to Veteran Therapists in each Local Health Board through Veteran NHS Wales
- in Scotland, veterans can access veteran-led mental health and welfare support through Veterans First Point, part of NHS Scotland
- in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Veterans’ Support Office links individual veterans, veterans’ groups, statutory and non-statutory bodies, and charities supporting veterans
- anyone in the UK or overseas can also contact the Veterans’ Gateway helpline on 0808 802 1212, or visit the Veterans' Gateway website for advice and signposting to further support, including for families and the bereaved
Source: MoD 9/2021
BAFF members, please use our site contact form for comments, or to let us know about any other web links which have been particularly helpful to you when you needed urgent assistance.