As Fusiliers we take great pride in being a family and being there for one another whenever help is needed, especially when it comes to mental health. As a Regiment, we want to be leading the way when it comes to providing the right help and support, so this resource has been developed to do just that! Inform and support anyone dealing with mental health worries within the Fusilier Family. Whether you are a serving Fusilier, veteran, or part of the wider Fusilier family you are never alone, and we are always here to help.
Do you need help now?
If you’re struggling right now especially with suicidal thoughts find out what you can do to keep safe or get the appropriate help.
Find out more about the classic signs of mental illness and suicide as well as what you can do to help?
Loosing someone to suicide is extremely hard. Find out more about the support available to help you and your family through this difficult time.
Mental health issues and suicidal thoughts are far more common than you think. The fact that you are even looking at this page means you want to acknowledge these thoughts and find help.
First things first – it’s good to talk and to keep talking!
You might not know exactly why you feel this way? You might feel so low and the pain is simply unbearable that you just want it to end but telling someone how you are feeling will help. It might not be easy and might be uncomfortable talking about your thoughts and feelings but by sharing what is going on in your mind means you are not alone. Please speak to your fellow fusiliers your family, friends outside of the regiment, your GP or anyone you trust.
You might find talking to a stranger easier and that’s fine. The Samaritans are available 24/7 to listen and to help. Call 116 123 or you can text Shout to 85258 if you prefer to send a message.
Feeling Suicidal – I need help right now
Things you can do right now to help when suicidal thoughts become too much.
Call the Samaritans on 116 123
Most importantly if you are worried you can’t keep yourself safe go to your nearest A&E or dial 999
Call your GP – Your GP can help by referring you to a local mental health provision or crisis team. If it’s out of hours call NHS 111
Text SHOUT to 85258 if you prefer to talk to someone via text message. They offer confidential support 24/7 and are always on hand.
Take every minute as it comes – you’ve survived a minute, then five minutes, then thirty minutes then an hour. Break time down into manageable frames – eventually the time periods will get longer and more manageable.
Talk to someone – do not suffer in silence. Talk to a fellow Fusilier, your CO, family, friend or whoever you trust.
Avoid drugs and alcohol – however tempting this is stay away from drugs and alcohol as it will make things harder to overcome.
Do something you usually enjoy – Distract yourself from thoughts and the current situation by doing something you enjoy. Go for a walk, go to the gym, watch a good film, cook a nice meal, catch up with a friend – whatever it is take time out to do something you enjoy.
Deep breathing – it might sound silly but take in deep breaths and breathe slowly. The more you do this the more relaxed you will become.
Keep yourself safe – do you have a safety plan? If so follow it. Remove anything that you could use to harm yourself, go wherever you feel safe whether that be within the battalion or at home.
Stories of hope – These individuals have first-hand experience of dealing with mental health and being in the army/ regiment. There is a way out and they are examples of how you can turn a corner.
Cpl Tom Green from First Fusiliers gives a powerful message
Are you concerned about a fellow Fusilier?
You don’t need to be a trained professional to help someone you think is suffering. You just need to be able to listen and be there for them.
Anyone can experience suicidal thoughts and they are unique to them. Some people’s thoughts come and go whilst others might experience for longer periods of time.
The best thing to do is to ask them directly how they are feeling and give them the opportunity to share where their mind is at. It can be difficult to know how to help but by just listening and being there for them will make a huge difference.
What to look out for? Look after your MATES.
M Mindset – look for changes in their behaviour
A Attitude – Changes in outlook on life
T Tired – Changes in energy levels
E Emotions – Are things getting too much? Unusable display of emotions, crying etc
S Speak Up – Do the right thing and inform someone who can help
Here are a few other things to look out for if you are worried about someone
- Becoming distant and avoiding spending time with people
- Not taking part in activities they would usually enjoy
- Finding it hard to cope with everyday tasks or avoiding them at all costs
- Seeming agitated, wound up, restless, tearful or even angry
- Extreme mood swings – low to high and vice versa
- Talking or obsession about death, dying or suicide
- Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped or being so down its unbearable
- Talking about being a burden to others or not having a reason to live or carry on with life
- Increasing use of drugs and alcohol
- Too much or too little sleep
- Strange behaviour that is totally out of character
- Focusing on saying goodbye
Often it is those people who that don’t give any warning signs that need the most help. They might not have a history of mental illness but be aware if a fellow fusilier has had a recent family argument, relationship breakdown, a bereavement or has incurred debt or financial worries.
If you are worried about someone, stay with them in person or over the phone. Encourage them to do the following or contact on their behalf
- Ring the Samaritans on 0116 123
- Go through a safety plan with them if they have one
- Call their mental health worker or GP
- Call 999 or visit A&E if they are in immediate danger
- Contact someone in the Regiment – either First or Fifth Battalions Unit Welfare Office staff or Regimental HQ via Regimental Welfare Mentors. on, [email protected] and 07514 617288
It’s important to remember that you need to be ready to listen when they feel the time is right, so be able to give them the attention they need. Be patient and use encouraging language to make them feel at ease. If they aren’t ready to talk just make sure they know that you are always there for them whenever that might be. It’s also OK to be honest and direct with them in terms of what they are thinking but try not to panic. Try to stay calm and be as supportive as you can.
There are lots of free resources out there which will give you the skills to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. Zero Suicide Alliance is a comprehensive guide to follow:
Making a safety plan
A safety plan enables us to be positive and outlines what we can do ourselves to get through difficult times or crisis points in our lives. They also help to
- Find ways of keeping us safe from suicide
- Positive ways in which we can distract ourselves from negative thinking
- Reminds us who is there to give support when we need it
- Gives ideas of what we can do if we feel at immediate risk of harming ourselves.
The plan can be put together by yourself or with someone you trust.
If you are worried about someone thinking of suicide you can suggest you work with them to make a safety plan together.
Below is a link to an online resource – 4 Mental Health who have developed a really helpful guide that explains how to create a safety plan. Staying Safe
Bereaved by Suicide?
Have you lost someone to suicide and finding it extremely painful to deal with?
There is always someone in the regiment you can talk to whenever you need them. Remember our motto, ‘Once a Fusilier, Always a Fusilier’. We take great pride in the fact that we are here for one another especially in our time of need.
Bereavement is hard and losing to someone to suicide is even harder. There is no right or wrong way to feel when you have lost someone to suicide, and it is important to remember that there is no timescale to grief if one at all. Life will never be the same again but with time and the right support you will feel different.
You will probably feel a range of emotions including:
- Physical symptoms such as headache, stomach pains or sickness
There are things you can do to help
- Speak to your GP
- Talk to someone – a family member, friend or your family liaison/ welfare contact within the regiment. It’s most important to talk to someone you feel comfortable speaking to
- Find a support group in your area or meet others who have also been bereaved – either geographically or others in the regiment who have lost a loved one through suicide
- Make opportunities to remember – look at photographs of the person, write about them, be creative or do something positive in their memory like organising a fundraising event
- Spend time outdoors – have a change of scene and perhaps combine it with some exercise
- Remember the person – light a candle, plant a tree, something that you can do at a certain time on a certain day to remember them
- Take part in activities/ hobbies
- Look after yourself – eat healthy, try to get enough sleep and take care of yourself both physically and emotionally
- Remember to take it one day at a time – everyone’s healing process is different. Go at your own pace.
There are several organisations who are here to help and provide relevant information
MIND guide to bereavement by suicide
Cruse Bereavement Care – https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/for-military-families
Scotty’s Little Soldiers – a charity for bereaved British Forces Children – https://www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk/
SSAFA – https://www.ssafa.org.uk/
The Army Welfare Service is available on 01904 882053, Monday to Friday 08:30-16:00