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A quick note to say that I've set up my Business blog, to be able to speak with a clear voice on both personal and work issues (i.e. by having separate blogs).

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Combat Stress – caring for Veterans' mental health


For my undergraduate degree, I studied Psychology, and fascinating it was – it’s related to the human condition, but both the physical and metaphysical perspectives [well, something like that – Ed.].

I was also a member of the URNU, the University Royal Naval Unit, and loved that as well. A little bit of background (i.e. a related post) can be found here.

Based on a gut instinct that our servicemen and women could be treated more respectfully and looked after better, I’ve recently donated to Help for Heroes. Based on my background though, I’ve got a closer affinity to Combat Stress, and this post is designed to help you understand why.

I realise that there are a number of quotes from the Combat Stress website, but I’m guessing you’ll bear with it…!

About Combat Stress

Why Combat Stress exists

Combat Stress is the UK's leading military charity specialising in the care of Veterans' mental health.

We treat conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety disorders.  Our services are free of charge to the Veteran.

Since 2005 the number of ex-Service men and women seeking our help has risen by 72%.  And we have a current caseload of more than 4,300 individuals. This already includes 102 Veterans who have served in Afghanistan and 400 who served in Iraq.

In March 2010 our Patron HRH The Prince of Wales launched our major fundraising campaign The Enemy Within Appeal.

The £30 million, three-year appeal is designed to help us treat the escalating number of psychologically injured Veterans who are turning to us for help, by:

  • Establishing 14 Community Outreach Teams nationwide
  • Enhancing clinical treatment at our three short-stay treatment centres

If you need help yourself

This link has the map referred to below in the following quote:

Combat Stress provides effective treatment and support to Veterans of the British Armed Forces who are suffering from mental ill health.

If you or perhaps someone in your family has a problem, then please call us for an informal chat.

Our services are free of charge and regardless of War Pension/Armed Forces Compensation Scheme status.

We have people in your area ready to take your call –8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday.  Simply click on your region in the map [below] for contact details of your local Support Desk.

Veterans do not have to have seen active service in order to qualify for our help – but if you are in any doubt, just ask us.

Some facts re the Falklands War

At a recent Combat Stresss fund-raiser that I attended, Lieut-General Robin Brims addressed us, and mentioned the problems that service personnel faced returning home after fighting in the Falklands War.

I don’t really have time to substantiate the following quote which I believe backs him up, but it’s from here and quotes Guardian and Observer sources:

Since the war, hundreds of veterans, both Argentinian and British, have committed suicide. Numbers of suicides are not recorded by the MoD, but the South Atlantic Medal Association claimed in 2002 that more British ex-servicemen from the Falklands have killed themselves since the 1982 conflict than died in action: 264 they estimated (300 is more recently quoted).

An example is Lance Corporal Colin Deary who lost three friends in the Falklands, was discharged from the army eight years later with drink problems, and in 1994 stabbed himself to death. Similar reports have been made about the Argentinian troops.


As in all wars but still not adequately recognised by the military establishment, the servicemen and women suffer to varying degrees from post traumatic stress disorder. Many soldiers found it hard to return to normal life, ended up getting into trouble and committing crimes.

Simon Skinner suffered flashbacks and stumbled from one crisis to another attempting suicide on several occasions, becoming an alcoholic and getting into debt, and finally in 1995 having his final flashback. ‘He got out of bed, stood to attention, marched out of the room as if in a trance and, stumbling, fell down the stairs. He died five days later.’

Video highlighting the issue

The Enemy Within Appeal

Caution: this advert features a simulated flashback some viewers may find disturbing.

On 11 March 2010, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, launched the Combat Stress Enemy Within Appeal at St. James's Palace. 

This accompanying advert highlights the emotional 
impact of PTSD on the lives of Veterans and their families.

The key aims of The Enemy Within Appeal are to:

  • Raise £30 million to enhance and develop mental health services for Veterans.
  • Raise awareness of the plight of Veterans suffering from psychological injury.
  • Encourage Veterans and their families to seek help earlier.

Please help us in any way you can.

N.B. You can now follow us on:

 Follow CombatStress on Twitter YouTube Logo

Enemy within appeal leaflet

This gives info on the appeal mentioned above – probably best viewed in Fullscreen mode…

The Enemy Within appeal leaflet

Wash up

Hopefully you get the general idea. I’m expecting to do another Byte Night sleep-out in the Autumn, but plan to devote any future fund-raising activities to help this cause. I hope you can support me. :-)

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