Dr. Robin Carr MB BS MSc, spoke to Club on Friday 19th October to raise awareness of the Combat Stress organisation.
For almost a century, this charity has helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events such as bereavement, significant accident or injury. He described how 1 in 3 veterans will get complex PTSD precipitated by severe trauma and repeated exposure to harrowing environments: they go to places most people have never heard of, and witness the very worst that humans can do to other humans. He explained that these veterans were left deeply troubled by what they had seen, done and not done, and needed help to live in peace.
These people will present late, some as long as 10+ years when their coping strategies finally break down. Many will use avoidance, isolation, or distraction to cope with the repeated flashbacks, the nightmares, and the disturbing physical symptoms. Some turn to alcohol and drug abuse, and sadly some even take their own lives.
Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity helping veterans on their journey towards finding peace with their mental health issues. Their services are free and available through a nationwide telephone number 0800 1381619. This is a 24 hr service and leads to a triage process that will sign post the individual or their families to the most appropriate service.
Their website (combatstress.org.uk) also has much to offer. Help can also be found through the Veteran’s Gateway (veteransgateway.org.uk) and treatment can also be sought through the NHS.