Lifting the Lid

Promoting positive mental health

RMA - The Royal Marines Charity aims to be the central pillar of the Royal Marines Family, drawing together those who aspire to join, those who serve, those who have served and their families. We recognise that we have extraordinary people who have achieved extraordinary feats both in training and on operations,or in the case of families, in support of both.

Recognising the strengths of the Commando values, spirit, and mindset we, as a charity, have set our own standards to mirror those that it takes to become a Royal Marine. We aspire to deliver our support to the whole Corps Family in this way. It is in recognition of the Commando mindset that we launch this campaign: the Royal Marines cap badge and the Green Beret represent a long and enduring history of flexibility, change and strength. The Royal Marines are frequently praised for their agility, adaptability, and forward-thinking, leading them to be the first to understand, adapt and overcome. 

For this reason, our campaign leads with interpreting and understanding the true essence of our values and mindset, but perhaps in a different way. ‘Lifting the Lid’ seeks to encourage people to ask for help across our Corps Family at times of need. The courage and determination of the Commando our spirit and the self-discipline and humility reflected in our values should help us be the first to understand when we might need help……this is our Mindset.

It is a strong person, not a weak person who is able to understand when to seek help from others; asking for support is a strength that should be applauded not stigmatised. Therefore, at all levels of the Royal Marines family, support and understanding regarding the message of this campaign should be second nature. Seeking help is a strength, not a weakness. After all, just as we look after our physical health, it is as important to look after our mental health.

Where can I find help?

24 HOUR HELP

OFFICE HOURS

Throughout this campaign, we want to engage with our unique and special community on mental health matters. We wish to encourage healthy behaviours and mental fitness and make it even more acceptable to reach out for support when needed. This support is available in many different guises, from our oppos, our chain of command, our families, and friends as well as specialist support such as chaplaincy and welfare services. Sometimes that support is enough, it can ‘normalise’ our stress, help us find our own way through a raft of emotions that otherwise might go unnoticed and overlooked by others. Sometimes just communicating with someone about how we feel will help us understand some of the associated factors that might be affecting our wellbeing. By talking and making small lifestyle changes we are then able to find a route out of our distress.

There are times, though, when our symptoms and associated behaviours need more professional help, and it is then that we might need to reach out to our primary and secondary health services.In the Royal Marines, your GP/Medical Officers in each unit alongside their staff are able to assess your mental health needs and if necessary, they can refer you to Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) for further assessment and treatment. Royal Marines are uniquely able to self-refer directly to Project Regain should they wish. There is also Combat Stress 24-hour helpline available for serving personnel and their families: 0800 323 4444. Help is out there; we just need the courage to ask for it.

For veterans, the pathway is slightly different dependent on which country in the United Kingdom you reside. Similar to serving personnel there is Combat Stress 24-hour helpline 0800 138 1619. The most important thing for military veterans is to ensure you are registered with a GP and if you are having mental health difficulties you should make them aware that you are a veteran. NHS England Veterans’ MH Services have vastly improved, and we at the RMA-The Royal Marines Charity work closely with them to provide support. Royal Marines veterans who present with mental distress must engage with their GP or veteran services but the charity can also gain access to funded, recognised and approved therapeutic support close to where you live, when NHS waiting times or local resources may prohibit timely support.

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Suicide Prevention

It is deeply tragic that there have recently been several former Royal Marine suicides, some of whom were not seeking support and were trying to solve their problems on their own. We understand why this may happen in the Royal Marines family: “I don’t want to worry others, I don’t want to be a burden,” but there is hope, and there is always help available.

Whatever is troubling you, no matter how big or small the issue feels, it’s important to know there’s always someone you can talk to about what’s on your mind.  

Sometimes it can be helpful to talk to someone you don’t know, who won’t judge you or tell you what to do. Every year, Samaritans volunteers spend over one million hours answering calls for help. They are trained to offer confidential emotional support to military personnel and veterans by phone or email.  

Samaritans are there to listen when you’re struggling with how you are feeling. If you’re going through a difficult time, you can contact them anytime – day or night, 365 days a year. Call free on 116 123 within the UK or Ireland or email jo@samaritans.org. When you have lots on your mind, they can help you find your own way through it.

If you’re worried about someone else, encourage them to seek support. Remember, suicide is preventable and suicidal thoughts can be interrupted. Reaching out to someone could let them know that someone cares, that they are valued, and help them access the support they need. For more information about how you can support others, visit Samaritans’ website: https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/military/

Don’t let ‘Pride’ prevent asking for help. Remember, it takes a stronger person to know when they require support and to ask for it when needed. Do not suffer in silence, ‘lift the lid’… speak to someone and utilise the support available.

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