Combating PTSD

The number of reported cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has soared in recent years.

As awareness grows about the trauma of those in service, and our veterans, many diverse projects have been developed to support those in need and it’s those important schemes that the Veterans’ Foundation is hoping to help fund.

PTSD is often for life and it’s learning how to deal with the pain of the scars that aren’t visible that is vital for thousands of men and women.

Anxiety, fear and depression can be debilitating if not addressed and it can be impossible for those leaving the Armed Forces to make a successful transition to civilian life.

Veterans’ Foundation patron, Hannah Campbell, who suffered a PTSD attack whilst appearing on Channel 4s ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ explained: “You just never know what will trigger the trauma – in an instant the fear of pain of war can come flooding back. It was a thunder storm that felled me on the television show – it came out of nowhere but in a moment I felt like I was back in Basra, Iraq, under mortar attack. PTSD is something I will live with forever but counseling will help.”

A charity recently launched for veterans with trauma is Bravehound, the canine arm of the veterans’ charity Glen Art, which uses dogs to help combat trauma. Their first puppy, six-month-old springer spaniel Irma, has just been given a home.

Paul Wilkie, a self-described “broken soldier”, wakes in a state of terror on a nightly basis.

The 45-year-old spent 22 years in the Royal Engineers, serving in the Falklands and Bosnia, as well as invading Iraq on the back of a Harley Davidson motorbike.

However, following an attack in 2012, he began suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and started having flashbacks to some of the things he had experienced almost 20 years before.

He now has a new four-legged friend to help him through it.

Paul said: “I’ve got PTSD, which is quite hard to live with. The trigger was someone punching me in the face in 2012 and I’ve had it ever since.

“I get flashbacks when I go to sleep at night. It’s like reliving the bad stuff you’ve seen and done – the smell and taste – you totally relive it every night, sometimes six times a night.

“It’s all Bosnia related – I don’t really like talking about it but it’s all the bad things I saw. I was there at the height in 1994 – I was in an enclave called Goražde, totally surrounded by Serbs. Srebrenica – where they killed 8,500 Muslims – was just up the road so it was all bad stuff.

“Irma is going to be great. Bravehound has given me their first dog – they are going to be training with me. I want to train her in loads of stuff – which will be good for me.”