RAF Serving families news

Mental health support for children from military families

Defence has joined forces with Kooth, a leading provider of online mental health and wellbeing support to give children of military families free access to this important service.

Kooth’s free online service is anonymous and accessible at any time through any internet enabled device.

Over 70 young people with family members in the military have already accessed the service at www.Kooth.com/mod since the launch of a two-year pilot in August 2022. All (100%) say they would recommend it to a friend.

Chief of Defence People, Vice Admiral Phil Hally says:

“Whether it’s extended periods of separation from parents, moving from place-to-place, living overseas or moving schools and making new friends, being part of a military family can come with some specific challenges, so I’m delighted that we are now able to offer access to a service that encourages young people to seek out support on their terms.”

How Kooth provides support

Defence’s partnership with Kooth opens its support to anyone aged 11 to 18 who has a family member in Regular or Reserve Service, whether they are in the UK or abroad; and extends the support to young people with parents who work overseas for the MOD or for Other Government Departments.

Once registered, users can connect with an online community of peers and read pre-moderated magazine articles on a range of mental health and wellbeing subjects. They can also access an interactive hub for daily wellbeing challenges, write a personal online journal and engage with a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited counsellor through chat messaging.

Kooth is the only digital mental health provider to offer one-to-one professional counselling and therapeutic self-help activities and peer-to-peer support; and to hold a UK-wide accreditation from BACP. All content on the online space is pre-moderated to ensure users’ protection. When necessary, the service can also direct individuals to other types of support, including clinical services.

How to access Kooth

You can find out about Kooth’s service using Defence’s dedicated URL: www.Kooth.com/mod.

This two-year pilot is one of the measures to help address the potential impacts of Service life on children and young people’s wellbeing which were explored in the Living in Our Shoes report. The report tells us that the 2019 Families Continuous Attitudes Survey indicated that 79 per cent of Service families have children, and when respondents were asked to rate the positive and negative aspects of Service life, those with children rated ‘the effect on my children’ as the third most negative aspect (48% negative) after the impact on the non-serving partner’s career (57% negative) and the amount of separation from their spouse (55%) negative.

The support also takes account of the findings from the Department of Health’s Future in Mind report and the Government paper on The mental health of children and young people in England.