Joining the Royal Navy with past mental health issues

betinkled

Newbie
Hi,

I am currently a 19 year old female student (BA Sociology) in my second year and have come to the realisation that I may have gone to uni because I felt so pressured to do so. The degree I am doing interests me, but I think that I just enjoy it as a subject and perhaps not as a career choice / path. I have been looking at potential careers for myself, teaching, being a police officer etc and then I thought about going into the RN to become an aircrew officer pilot (completely different, I know) as I think it’s something I’d really enjoy (the pay isn’t too bad too!) and I think this is something I’d really consider as I’d love to travel the world. I want to make something of my life and I want it to matter.

The only things I am worried about are the fact that I’d be away from my partner a lot (however she grew up in an army family so she is used to that side of things) and my past mental health issues, which is my number one worry. This is something I am working on currently and I am hoping for this to clear by the time I finish uni.

I have suffered with depression and anxiety on and off from about age 15, and PTSD from a sexual assault at age 16. This is definitely on the mend and I am confident that I can get past this. I don’t know if the PTSD is on my medical records as it was diagnosed by a therapist. Depression and anxiety are definitely on my records as I have been prescribed drugs by a GP to treat this in the past. When I was 16 I attempted suicide which is another thing (I don't feel like that at all anymore). I am worried that this would prevent me from joining the RN. I am fine in every other aspect in life, physically fit, capable, confident etc. It is just my previous mental health issues that I am worried will limit me. I guess the reason I am writing this is because I’d love if someone could give me some information on:

A) Would I be able to access my medical records to see what exactly is on them?
B) Can I join the RN with my mental health issues if they are 100% sorted by the time I join? And if I could get a GP to help back me up on this, would the RN consider this?
C) Any insight into how long I’d potentially be away from home, what I’d be doing and where I’d be when not on tours?

I appreciate this is a long post but I’d be grateful for any kind of information or advice that you can provide.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
That's a difficult set of questions that won't have definitive answers but

a) I'v registered with my health centre on a website that enables me to book repeat prescriptions, book a doctors appointment and also download my medical records, I haven't tried the latter yet so I don't what depth they go in to. Maybe your GP's surgery does the same?

b) That's something no-one on here can answer, one for the AFCO.

c) No-one can answer that, you go where sent, for however long it takes. That question is frequently asked on here and no-one can answer it, it really is a "how long's a piece of string" question.
 

betinkled

Newbie
Thanks very much for the reply. I’ll get in touch with my local AFCO. I appreciate that these may be quite hard to answer haha.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
You could be away 9 days to 9 months. My last long patrol was supposed to be for 3 months, we got back 6 months later and that wasn't an uncommon occurrence.
 

soleil

War Hero
The easiest question to answer from the three you put is the first one, Betinkled. There should be no problem in gaining access to your own medical records and I would advise you to do that, as what is said in them will inform what would happen if you were to apply.


It will help you to know that there is a mechanism within the application process for medical aspects to be sent for referral. This will add to the length of time which an application takes, so be prepared for this. The decision made once all the paperwork has been reviewed will determine whether you can progress further with your application.

Something I would advise you to do is to continue with your degree and to put your heart and soul into your studies. A good result in your degree will stand you in good stead in the future, whatever happens.

I would be inclined to suggest drawing up a timetable for applying, if this is what you would like to do. I would make your first task to obtain your medical records, so that you know what is on them.

You could consider doing the very first stage of the process next year, by which I mean the 'Registering Your Interest' stage. This is just what it says, you expressing an interest in joining. This would trigger the very early stages of an application and you would get a clearer idea at that point about any future possibilities.


 

betinkled

Newbie
Thanks for the detailed response! I will bear all of this in mind and I’ll try to get it all sorted. The only thing stopping me from dropping out of uni at the minute is the fact that I’d need the degree in case I don’t get in, plus I guess it always helps to have a degree whether in the armed forces or not. Thanks again for the reply.
 
Thanks for the detailed response! I will bear all of this in mind and I’ll try to get it all sorted. The only thing stopping me from dropping out of uni at the minute is the fact that I’d need the degree in case I don’t get in, plus I guess it always helps to have a degree whether in the armed forces or not. Thanks again for the reply.
Getting your degree is a great enabler to many roles, not just in the field in which your degree is. Whether that is in civvy street or the armed forces. Grind it out and get it done and on your CV. You will only regret it in later life, all for the sake of less than 3 years of further study.

The RN will still be there and having another 2-3 years of being able to demonstrate that your conditions are behind you may help.

Keeping a relationship going with so much time apart can be a challenge. However if you both work at it then love does conquer all.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
 

Sumo

War Hero
Getting your degree is a great enabler to many roles, not just in the field in which your degree is. Whether that is in civvy street or the armed forces. Grind it out and get it done and on your CV. You will only regret it in later life, all for the sake of less than 3 years of further study.

The RN will still be there and having another 2-3 years of being able to demonstrate that your conditions are behind you may help.

Keeping a relationship going with so much time apart can be a challenge. However if you both work at it then love does conquer all.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
Good advice re complete education, it opens mire doors.
Hi
Live conquers all, aarr you big softy ;)
I was married for 18 of my 24 years of service we clock up 40yrs in Jan, so it is possible for relationships to survive the armed forces.
 
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