Head Up Charity

Development of a non-militarised, positive mindset retreat for UK Armed Forces by Sept 2023

We are asking for all the help we can get in the development of our 7-day, luxury, holistic, positive mindset retreat. To help those who have served and still serving in the UK Armed Forces, and give them the tools to get through tough times.
raised of £450,000 target
by 5829 supporters
RCN 1195443

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Head Up is an Armed Forces not-for profit charity, set up by five veterans to help serving and former Forces personnel build a positive mindset and increase their mental resilience. Paul Minter, George Dagnall, Simon Moloney, Adam Carrier and Justin Davis have over 55 years of service between them, including a dozen combat operational tours. They have seen at close quarters how servicemen and women struggle with their mental health as a result of the high-pressure conditions they work under as standard, especially on the frontline. They are only too aware of how difficult it can be to access the right support for conditions like PTSD, depression and anxiety. And they all have friends who have taken their own lives because they couldn't get the help they so desperately needed. Now in civvy street, these four men are on a new mission to empower members of the military community who are at breaking point to recover their mental health and enjoy a more positive, happier future!

Military personnel are generally reluctant to acknowledge anything is wrong for fear of being labelled weak or non-deployable. It takes veterans 13 years on average to ask for professional help, and 84% of those reporting psychological issues never seek treatment.

Much of the psychological care currently available, while excellent, is offered in military settings. For people in acute mental distress, such surroundings can trigger further harm and be incompatible with any meaningful recovery.

While veterans get high priority over civilians, NHS mental-health services are struggling to cope with increasing demand across the board. For complex conditions such as PTSD, it can take up to two years to get the right therapy, and this may end up being too little, too late. Yet, for many, going private is simply too expensive to be a realistic option.

Head Ups vision is to stem the increasing number of suicides within the military community by empowering people to turn things around before their issues have the chance to become life-threatening. Well do this by creating a unique, holistic countryside retreat that removes the existing barriers to getting the right help. Seven-day residential courses will provide personalised mental-health support for serving and retired members of the Army, RAF, Navy and Royal Marines. We will catch those at risk of falling through the cracks in current provision. By design, the retreat will have a non-militarised atmosphere no triggering Forces paraphernalia, photographs, uniforms or hierarchies. A calm, natural and luxurious environment will help guests feel welcome and valued, and give them space to work on their mindset and learn new skills for challenging negative thought and behaviours. Although guests can be recommended to us by military organisations and charities, the NHS and businesses who employ veterans, they can also self-refer. This is a real point of difference from most other services. And guests wont have to pay a penny to access Head Ups services. We don't want money worries putting off anyone who would benefit from our services.

The Head Up Retreat is the start of an 18-month programme of holistic support support that is specifically tailored to the needs of Forces personnel, that understands and respects what they have been through, and enables them to visualise and create a healthy, rewarding future. The seven-day residential course will teach simple but highly effective positive-mindset techniques. Guests will work with a comprehensive range of wellbeing strategies for optimum nutrition and fitness, better sleep, meditation and communication. They'll also be exploring therapies such as anger management, music therapy, animal and nature therapy, breathing work and cold-water therapy.

Following the retreat, well provide 18 months of ongoing, proactive care and contact. This will include free access to the Swiss8 app, developed by the Australian veterans charity of the same name, which uses digital tools to inspire and guide personal growth. Regular check-in calls will monitor each clients progress throughout this period, and if at the end of it they still need help, well assess their suitability for a revisit or secure them appropriate support elsewhere. Whatever happens, we wont walk away from our comrades.

Head Ups immediate goal is to open the retreat by September 2024 and host 300 guests in the first year of operation. Our long-term vision is to run additional retreats in other UK locations, to collaborate with the Armed Forces in reviewing mental-health policies, and to extend our work to frontline emergency services members.

Although the retreat is the main goal, to date, Head Up have reached and helped over 3,000 Armed Forces personnel, guiding and educating thorough positive mindset methods and good daily habits. This has been achieved though one-on-one help, Wellness Days, Wellness Presentations, and Mini Retreats.

Many service personnel don't reach out during times of crisis due to a stigma around being diagnosed with a mental-health condition. Head Ups vision allows them to come forward without scrutiny, enabling them to get the right help, at the right time, without barriers consequently saving lives and promoting a better future for our Forces community."

About the charity

Head Up Charity

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RCN 1195443
Here at Head Up, we are on a mission to develop a 7-day, holistic, positive mindset retreat. We want to teach multiple positive mindset methods, each individual can take into their day-to-day lives. Be part of our ground breaking journey and help to safe lives. To find out more: www.head-up.org.uk

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