Yesterday, I felt very privileged to visit the Combat Stresses unit in Surrey called Tyrwhitt House. Combat Stress is one of the charities that Flannels4Heroes supports of which I am on the committee and it was thanks to Pamela Deakin who organised the visit.
What is Combat Stress? It is the veterans’ mental health charity which helps veterans rebuilds their lives.
What I saw yesterday was a residential unit, where Combat Stress create a ‘safe environment’ and work closely with the individual in a ‘team’ environment to help the veteran survive their trauma and move beyond it, and in turn create a life they are truly proud of.
I can’t even comprehend the kind of trauma experienced in combat but, one think I did pick up on and know from friends in the military is when you go into civilian world it’s a shock. When, you are in the military. You are very cocooned/protected and so many people when they leave don’t know what we see as simple things such as opening a bank account, to shopping and cooking for instance. However, as I said to someone, rest assured in the civilian world it can be the same. As a civilian looking in, we take a lot for granted and from just reading a poem and seeing artwork in the centre made me realise, why for some trauma can take over our lives and consume us. We all handle things differently and should not judge people because asking for help is a big deal for anyone but it’s not failure whatever people close to you may say.
Combat Stress was created in 1919 and is the UK’s leading charity for veterans with psychological problems as a result of military service and combat experience.
In the latest ‘In Touch’ publication, I was shocked at some of the statistics which I share:
- 20% of Afghan and Iraq veterans are predicted to develop a common mental health disorder.
- 18 months is the average time that Afghan veterans wait to get help from Combat Stress.
- 18 years is the age of the youngest veteran helped.
- 13 years is the average time that veterans wait to get help from Comb Stress.
Yesterday, I witnessed the PTSD Intensive Treatment programme which is residential run over a six week period. And, the services offered to the veterans are amazing from the one on one sessions to the occupational therapy which includes things such as baking, photography, gardening, yoga and many more as they encourage them to re-engage within the community by giving them ‘self-worth’ and ‘well-being’ all part of rehabilitation journey.
Last year, I volunteered at Battle of the Proms at Highclere, the home of Downton Abbey and it was great fun. So, would you like to get involved? Well, it’s easy as a huge selection of events throughout the UK all year around and volunteering is a great way of giving something back. For more information on volunteering contact Ellie Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.