The hidden wounds: who cares for our veterans?

An article appeared in the Mail on Sunday magazine a short while ago: The hidden wounds are hardest to heal: families struggling with PTSD 

Here are Mo’s thoughts upon reading it:

“How true that is – these are hidden wounds.

These soldiers saw atrocities that stay in their memory forever. It is logical that if you see something nasty it is going to affect you. It stays with you, within your memory.

Pain too is hard to empathise – we can only imagine what it is like for the injured.

Our feelings amount to frustration that we cannot help. Helplessness makes anyone feel like giving up.

In the article, Alex pushed his mother so far she gave him an alternative: “get up” or” get out”. This was a drastic measure for a mother who clearly loved her son so deeply. She just couldn’t take anymore.

Like Lynn. She came to the end of her tether when her husband’s PTSD exploded into a panic attack in the Building Society offices.

The boss’s answer was “go on leave”.

But how many people could understand that this wouldn’t help him? That Dean would just have more time to think about all he had seen and heard in his life in the army. All the bad stuff.

What he needed was to understand what was going on in his head.

During her interview, Lynn comments that the armed forces are not good at managing mental health problems. Since World War One, life hasn’t really improved for damaged servicemen. Those who work in the domain are few and far between. The NHS has no time or money for mental health patients. These are words often spoken by families.

Where has the £7.4 million the Government gave the mental health services for veterans gone to? What was it spent on?

It seems to me sometimes that no one in the Department of Health believes that Counsellors can help. Instead, money is thrown at the NHS to train CBT workers. Counsellors can already work with this approach, so why not use them as a resource that is available right now? Why spend £30 million in setting up The Wellbeing Service (IAPT) to deliver CBT imperfectly when an army of Counsellors exists across the entire country who can do this work?

I have counselled ex-servicemen who had awful stories to tell. It took time and patience to listen and ultimately help them to help themselves. But it worked. Counselling made their lives better. It is some of the most rewarding work I have done.”