Lifting the Decks – The REME Mental Health Plan
Lifting the Decks
Mental Health issues have dominated the news in the past couple of years, with Mind, the leading mental health charity stating “Every year one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. But hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling”. The Corps in partnership with The REME Charity has developed and is actively promoting the mental health plan – Lifting the Decks.
‘Lifting the Decks’ is a 10–point plan aimed at all serving Regular and Reserve REME personnel and takes the Battlefield Maintenance Functions familiar to many of us to re-enforce the stratagem. The tenets of Maintain, Inspect, Repair and Recover will be used to highlight that our Officers and Soldiers need to work on maintaining good MH, inspect themselves and their colleagues and – if required – get the help they need to repair and recover. If ‘Lifting the Decks’ is our strapline, the four tenets will become our campaign model.
The intent of our ‘ten-point plan’ is to support the Army’s OPSMART programme whilst bolstering the impact across the Corps. This will be achieved through focused Corps communications, unit MH Champions, an annual MH & Wellbeing Conference, additional funding streams, respite programmes, ‘Healthy Body = Healthy Mind’ promotions, lived experience articles and more. The REME Mental Health Plan has been titled ‘Lifting the Decks’, an analogy that I think our REME family can relate to. Simply put, it links the need to get inside the decks of a vehicle to the need to get inside their own heads. The correlation is the need to get to the root cause of a problem to solve it. Aimed at all Regular and Reserve REME personnel, it takes the Battlefield Maintenance Functions familiar to us all to re-enforce the stratagem. The tenets of Maintain, Inspect, Repair and Recover will be used to highlight that our troops need to work on maintaining good MH, inspect themselves and their colleagues and – if required – get the help they need to repair and recover. If ‘Lifting the Decks’ is our strapline, the four tenets will become our campaign model
A message from Colonel REME
Levels of poor MH across the Army are comparable to wider UK society. 1 in 8 of our people in 2020 presented themselves to a MH professional and 1 in 3 will now likely suffer from ill MH at some point during their lifetime. These are sobering combat indicators of a growing issue and an issue highlighted by recent conversations I’ve had with both REME soldiers and veterans. Our new community Mental Health Plan aims to do something about this. We want to try and bring a few things together to better support you, your people and your families. Titled ‘Lifting the Decks’ – an analogy that I think we can all relate to – the Plan links the need for us as tradesmen to get under the decks of a vehicle, with the need for us to get inside our own heads. The correlation being the need to get to the root cause of a problem – if there is one – and solve or manage it.
‘Lifting the Decks’ is aimed at our serving and veteran community. It takes the Battlefield Maintenance Functions of Maintain, Inspect, Repair and Recover to highlight that we all need to work on maintaining good MH, routinely inspecting ourselves and our colleagues and – if required – be prepared to get the help that we or our colleagues need to repair and recover. ‘Lifting the Decks’ is produced to support and bolster the Army’s OPSMART programme for our serving soldiers first and foremost. Indeed, If OPSMART is the science, ‘Lifting the Decks’ is the art that applies it to our serving tribe and culture. We also care passionately about our veterans. We need to better advertise that OP COURAGE (The NHS Veterans Mental Health Services in England), Veterans First Point (The Scottish Government Support Scheme) and other national, regional and bespoke initiatives throughout the UK now exist to support you. Indeed, you’ll see many of these linked on this web-page. You’ll also see a few initiatives like the Monday Morning Brew – a contrived opportunity for us to routinely get together to chat and keep an eye out for each other -, The Mental Health Self Help QR Poster – available for all of you to display in your military or civilian workplaces -, and many other products and initiatives for you to use, display and work through. You’ll see routine announcements on here, on REME Social Media, in the Craftsman and via e-mail.
Poor Mental Health can be exacerbated or pronounced when life is hard. Things like bereavement, debt, divorce, abuse and alcohol addiction can all add additional layers of stress and anxiety to our daily lives. Don’t suffer in silence. Have a look at some of the links on this page if you need help and information and if you can’t find it, contact us. Every single one of us reading this know about the buddy-buddy system so apply it.
The REME Charity has an ever growing part to play in ‘Lifting the Decks’ and is supporting us financially in combating some of the causal factors of poor Mental Health and Suicidal Ideation. We have a Welfare Team at RHQ with routes to counselling whether you are serving or retired, regular or reserve. If you need some help and signposting or you just need a chat, you can drop the team an e-mail and we’ll get back to you.
Let’s look after each other and get after this together.
Colonel Jason Phillips ADC