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Updated : August 1, 2022 3 mins read

Anxiety for Armed Forces Young People

Updated : August 1, 2022 3 mins read

Anxiety Article

Anxiety Resource | Young people tell us that people don’t understand things like anxiety and that people tell them ‘it’s overworrying but that’s not it’.

Young people can experience higher anxiety during deployment because they are worrying about whether their parent or carer is safe, how much of their home life they can share and when their parent will next be in contact. Worries for young people also include being distracted and not remembering if they have sent messages or conveyed the right information when they do have calls. This panic over what to tell parents tends to be because there are so many things happening for the young person, or that they don’t want to upset their parent while they are deployed.

Young people describe the impact anxiety has on them in lots of ways:

  • ‘the basic focus you just lose it. I feel really bad, did I call him, did I do that job that’s he’s not around to do’
  • ‘the teacher says I need to listen more but they don’t understand’
  • ‘wires in your mind just stop’
  • ‘it impacts everything’
  • my mind jumps to the worst case scenario’

There are also sensitive anxieties around both the serving parent/carer and the parent/carer who is at home. For example:

  • ‘I get really sad thoughts about him eating alone’
  • ‘it’s been really hard on my mum and dad is really tired, I just wanna come home’
  • ‘puts me in a worry all day, in a panic all day and I’ll be messaging mum asking if he’s texted… it’s our only method of communication’

It’s common for these anxieties to significantly disrupt young people’s ability to engage in education, their routines and sense of comfort at home, as well as their behaviour with friends and family. This can promote feelings of isolation, as one young person explains – “I’ll be honest, I can overreact, I did snap but didn’t mean to and you can’t groan to the other parent”.

So how do we manage anxiety?

Our article ‘What is anxiety’ explains why we have anxiety, what’s going on in our bodies when we experience anxiety and we have some additional resources on helpful ways to manage this. We also have some top tips from young people which you can view below. These activities are very individual so please remember to focus on what works well for you, and try something else if a certain technique is unhelpful. It’s important to keep in mind though, that most things need some practice so stick with it for a while before making up your mind for good.

Top tips from young people:

  • Read
  • Music (listening to the lyrics)
  • Music (with no lyrics)
  • Writing thoughts down
  • Playing with random things like fidget toys
  • Playing an instrument
  • Being with friends and family
  • Go for a walk or a run

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Get Help now

If you are concerned about your mental health, or if you have found yourself feeling concerned about someone else, you can:

Call 111 – NHS 24

Call 116 123 – The Samaritans

Call 0800 83 85 87 – Breathing Space

Text: ‘YM’ to 85258 – Young Minds crisis chat

If you think you are in danger of hurting yourself or other people, you should call 999 or present to your local A&E department.