Veterans share their experiences of military-related trauma to raise awareness of the charity that helped them

A group of veterans have shared their experiences of living with military-related trauma in a new short film for Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

The film, which features a round table discussion of four former servicemen, aims to raise awareness of military mental health and the impact that treatment and support from Combat Stress has had on the lives of the veterans.

One of those men is Colin, who joined the Army when he was 18 years old and spent his 18 years of service in Northern Ireland.

He said: “I struggled with civilian life from the start – I found the transition very difficult. I don’t think I lasted longer than two months in any job. I missed the pattern and routine of life in the Army and didn’t feel like anyone understood me.

“In 2015 something from my past came up. From that moment on something hit me – I just didn’t feel right. I started to have flashbacks and suffer with anxiety.

“By chance I found the Combat Stress card – it fell out of my wallet at the time I was feeling the worst but after making the call to ask for help, things started to get so much better.

“At the start, I found it embarrassing to talk about my mental health problems – it felt like I couldn’t tell anyone but that’s no longer the case. I know how much Combat Stress has helped me so by taking part in this video I hope to encourage others to seek their help too.”

Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said: “Our new film gives voice to the impact military-related trauma can have on the lives of veterans and how treatment from Combat Stress makes a big difference. It’s intensely moving to see a group of veterans talking about their mental health in such an open and honest way.

“Over the past five years we have seen an average of more than 2,000 referrals each year from veterans dealing with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s vital that we increase donations to continue our work so that more veterans can benefit from our treatment.”

The concept of the Combat Stress film was developed and produced by Raw London, a creative content agency specialising in third sector digital campaigns.

Founder & CEO Ryan Wilkins said: “Raw London was delighted to work with Combat Stress to help deliver this ambitious film, which tackles the mental health of former servicemen and women head on.

“We often see celebrity-fronted campaigns in the media, but we wanted to ensure that this campaign would resonate with and speak directly to our client’s target audience.”

To watch the film please visit combatstress.org.uk/liberatinglives.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

About Combat Stress

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

For almost a century, we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Over the past five years (2012 to 2017) we have seen an average of more than 2,000 referrals each year. Demand for our services continues to grow – we have seen a 143% increase in referrals from ten years ago.

On average it takes 12 years after leaving the military for veterans to contact Combat Stress for help, by which time their condition is often highly complex. However, veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts are coming to Combat Stress much sooner (three and four years respectively).

To help veterans rebuild their lives, we provide a range of free services:

  • Short-stay clinical treatment at our treatment centres in Ayrshire and Surrey
  • A specialist Intensive Treatment Programme – delivered at our treatment centres
  • Occupational therapy – delivered at our treatment centres and in the community, we use meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, wellbeing and recovery
  • Outpatients – assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists – at our treatment centres and in the community – enables us to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment veterans require
  • Community Teams – providing treatment and practical support to veterans. Last year our regional community teams undertook almost 5,400 face-to-face appointments
  • Peer Support Service – Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The service enables them to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others with similar experiences.
  • Substance Misuse Case Management Service – helping veterans to access the services for their drug and alcohol problems so their mental health issues can be addressed
  • We have a 24-hour Helpline available to veterans and their families (0800 138 1619) and to serving personnel and their families (0800 323 4444)

Useful links

Our website: combatstress.org.uk
On Twitter: @CombatStress
On Facebook: facebook.com/CombatStress
On LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/combat-stress

About Raw London

Raw London is a specialist branded content agency.

We create campaigns designed to change perceptions. We work mainly in the third sector to deliver long-term content strategies, individual campaigns and effective videos.

We won 14 awards in 2017 for effective brand communication and innovative content marketing and placed 15th in the Televisual Corporate Top 50 Agencies in 2018.

If you want to change the way people see your cause or brand, or reach out to new followers and fans, we can help. Email hello@raw.london.

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