Changing the narrative around mental health and coming out of service life.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and with Team Commando Spirit’s primary aim being to raise awareness of mental health issues caused by service life and the transition to civilian life, we feel it’s only fitting that we take this opportunity to restate our mission and the reasons for our desire to change the narrative around mental health.

We understand how challenging and difficult it can be to transition from a military to civilian life. Trying to establish a new purpose while maintaining the way of life you and your family have been accustomed to. Perhaps, whilst dealing with mental health related problems as well as even post-traumatic stress, which only serves to compound the difficulty. Leaving service life without a challenge or a focus can often feel like you are falling off a cliff. Even if you have something in mind to give you that motivation, the logistical and organisational requirements can often seem overwhelming as you juggle life’s priorities. Everyone has the right to good mental health and a positive, successful and happy life outside of the armed forces.

On 12 December, we will set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands in a rowing boat, just 28foot in length, rowing 2hr shifts, 24hrs a day to participate in what is known globally as ‘The World’s Toughest Row’, until we reach shore at English Harbour, Antigua.  Why?  To raise awareness of the mental health related issues faced by our veteran comrades and to let them know that ‘it’s ok not to feel ok’.  We are Royal Marines Commandos, united to help and support our friends and ensure everyone fulfils their right to good mental health. To facilitate this mission, we’ve teamed up with The Royal Marines Charity but, more specifically, Rock2Recovery. Their mission is to save and change the lives of those in our Armed Forces, the veteran community and their families who are affected by stress and poor mental health. Their approach is to inspire, coach and motivate towards a more positive future.

In 2019, The Royal Marines Charity supported 92 members of the Corps family battling mental ill-health. A further 193 received support from Rock2Recovery. Having our personal stories impacted by the loss of good friends to suicide, we want to raise awareness of the mental health issues amongst our mates and reach out to those who are suffering in the hope they will get the help they need and not suffer in silence.

A row across the Atlantic is the very least we can do, and it will provide a platform for others to show their support. Through Team Commando Spirit, we aim to provide a real and lasting route to good mental health and successful living. So, we are living by the mantra that ‘it’s ok not to feel ok’ and if you need help, or you recognise someone in need of help, contact Rock2Recovery. Or if you or your company wants to support us in our mission, contact Team Commando Spirit.

Tristan Lark

Crew Member and Royal Marine Commando

Team Commando Spirit

Team Commando Spirit – www.teamcommandospirit.com

Rock2Recovery – www.rock2recovery.co.uk

The Royal Marines Charity – www.theroyalmarinescharity.org.uk/home

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