15 Jan East of England Armed Forces Wives and families suffering in silence on Blue Monday
21 per cent of family members in the East of England said their own mental health suffered as a result of their family member’s experiences yet stigma is stopping many from speaking up.
On Blue Monday Help for Heroes is releasing new research which reveals that in the East of England 21 per cent partners or family members of an Armed Services Veteran or Service Person state that their own wellbeing and mental health has been directly affected as a result of their family member’s situation.
UK-wide families are suffering in silence as one in eight, (16 per cent), said they would try to cope with any issues alone; with only 5 per cent saying they would seek help from a mental health professional.
It’s the stigma of speaking up as an Armed Services partner or family member that is the main reason many of those surveyed have not spoken up. Worryingly, reasons cited in the research include 39 per cent of those who would try to cope alone stating that they “don’t feel [they] have the right to seek help”. Almost half (43 per cent) said they “need to be the strong one” and 16 per cent admitted they would be “afraid of appearing weak”. One in three would turn to a family member, friend or other veteran wives/families before approaching their GP or a medical professional.
Depression and anxiety are just two mental health conditions that affect almost one in three, (30 per cent), of affected family members of serving and ex-Personnel. For many veterans their problems, physical or emotional, are so overwhelming it affects their whole family. Many wives and partners find themselves struggling to not only care for the veteran, but also hold down a job and keep a family together at the same time.
The private despair these family members suffer had largely gone unnoticed until Help for Heroes launched its Hidden Wounds initiative. The service provides free and confidential support to ex-Service Personnel, their families and the families of those still serving, who are living with anxiety, depression, stress, anger or who wish to change their drinking habits.
Now in its fourth year, Hidden Wounds has already helped almost 2,000 veterans and their families, but tens of thousands more are in need of the unique support offered by the service.