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Not only are servicemen and women putting their mental health at risk, families are too…

Welfare and support for families of serving personnel

Everyday family life has its up and downs. Life for members of an armed forces family, whether they are regulars, reservists, or veterans, or their spouses, partners or children, can have additional worries, including:

  • stress around deployment
  • extended and repeated periods of separation from spouses and partners
  • social isolation from family and friends
  • additional and sudden caring responsibilities

The Armed Forces Covenant says that the whole nation has a moral obligation to the armed forces community and sets out how they should expect to be treated.

The Covenant aims to remove disadvantage, to ensure that the whole armed forces community, including their families, receive the same outcomes as the civilian community. A useful point of contact for covenant issues are the service family federations.

The majority of families of serving personnel, reservists and veterans access and receive their healthcare through the NHS in exactly the same way as the rest of the population.

In specific circumstances – for example, during posting overseas – some families may receive their primary care services from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) through Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC) medical centres.

The availability of health and other support services for armed forces families serving overseas can vary between locations.

The MoD has a robust process in place for assessing the support available to family members before an overseas move is confirmed. This ensures that all essential services are available, whether that be health or education, and that the move to the new location is as smooth as possible.

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