Military life has a number of unique challenges; there is a lot of change and uncertainty so adaptions have to be made regularly. When you add in the rigours of training, development of resilience, the military ethos and occasionally having to deal with events or situations other people can often never fully understand – which are all a necessary part of a successful military life – it’s understandable that people may struggle.
For Veterans and their families there is also the difficulty, emotional distress and fear of the unknown that many face while transitioning out of the Forces and back onto civvy street – although these feeling are often temporary.
Those who serve in our Armed Forces are considered strong; they are there to help others and be brave in the face of danger. This is in stark contrast to the wrong, and widely-held, perception that those who struggle with their mental health are weak, broken, inadequate or victims. With pride and stigma still shrouding mental health, is it any wonder that our Service Personnel and Veterans feel they have to deal with their psychological wellbeing in secret, if at all?
When an individual is struggling with their mental health, be it anxiety, depression, stress, alcohol or anger, it is our duty to empower them to reach out for support with dignity. It’s crucial that we get away from this perception of weakness, after all everyone goes through periods of being distressed or down – it’s just part of life.
Let’s use this World Mental Health Day to encourage a sensible approach to mental health support that echoes how we look after our physical health.
We are working alongside other Veteran mental health service providers (such as the NHS, Combat Stress, Big White Wall etc.) to ensure that free and confidential support is available to those in need. If you’re struggling to maintain your mental health, take the first step by getting in touch with us today: www.helpforheroes.org.uk/hidden-wounds.