Treat Yourself As You Would Treat Others - #FillYourBrew

Written by Alex Miller, co-founder of Tactical Tea.

For Mental Health Week 2019, BFBS partnered with Fill Your Boots, Contact Coffee and Tactical Tea for the #FillYourBrew campaign. This week, make time to have that brew with a mate and talk. 

Mental health issues among the human race are a problem.

Mental health issues among 20-49-year-old males are a problem.

Mental health issues within the British Military are a problem.

It just happens that we are humans (barely), and the British Army has a large percentage of young males in its Rank & File. We are sh*t at talking about it, but that's alright. We're getting there.

We all know that suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 in the UK. Compound this with the stiff-upper-lip that we are skull-f***ed with in basic training, and you get a pretty rough ride.

That's not to say a stiff-upper-lip isn't needed, it's what makes us British, and it's what helps us get through that 0300 stag in Otterburn when it's pouring it down. 


Alex from Tactical Tea

But, we will get better at it, as long as we keep talking about it. Although talking is the start.

Doing is the next step.

It's easy to talk about, smile, laugh, and dismiss any notion that something might not be quite right in your head. But therein lies the problem.

The blokes are hardy, tough, and selfless. To admit something is wrong is against our nature, but when something is wrong, that's when it takes all of a mans' strength to admit that he needs help. We can help each other. 

Next time you're on CO's PT Parade on a Friday morning, have a look around.

You can guarantee that more than one person stood there is struggling, it might not be the person you expect. It could be the person next to you, it could be a SNCO stood at the back. It could be the CO addressing his troops.

Mental Health issues do not discriminate, they will eat away at your very core.

It is so important that we look out for each other, we are a team.

One big team of 147,000 Brothers & Sisters, we have got each others back. And that's how we need to view Mental Health issues, we're here for each other. Not in a sh*t way that just glosses over the issue, but really try to be there for each other. 

It's nice to have Tactical Tea, Contact Coffee Co, and FYB as the medium for this campaign. But it isn't really about that at all.

If this #FillYourBrew campaign spurs one person to get help, just one person, then it has been a success.

Don't leave it until it is too late, prepare your mind for the rough road ahead. It is a long one that will last a lifetime, but you can strengthen your mental solitude with daily practices like Stoicism, meditation (not the religious kind, Headspace is a good starting point), tough Phys, books such as Jordan Peterson's "The 12 Rules of Life", the list goes on. 

It's my personal opinion that the Army should run a "De-Training" module upon NTT'ing from Service. I've met a handful of guys still-serving who have mental health issues. But I've met a ton more veterans who have mental health issues.

This is due to a hundred reasons, but know a big one is that we are not trained to leave the Army.

We are trained to kill, trained to do what civilians will not, yet we are not trained to become "normal" people.

Until this is fixed, Service Leavers will have a hard time. You might spend a year in the Guardroom and learning how to write a CV (important but not a priority, although writing a CV seems to be the MOD's answer to resettlement) but half of that year might be much better spent learning how to be a civilian - something that is completely foreign to most soldiers, myself included.

If you are struggling, please seek help. Go to the Med Center, go to your COC if you trust them, go and see your mate for a brew, do something.

And make sure it's not PG Tips.

A helpline to provide round-the-clock support to forces personnel dealing with mental health issues has been launched after funding by the Ministry of Defence.

Anyone who needs help, advice or support with mental health issues can call the Military Mental Health Helpline on 0800 323 4444.

There are also many charities that offer free help and support to veterans such as SSAFA and Combat Stress.