To highlight the ongoing needs of those who live with injuries or illnesses as a result of serving in Afghanistan, on 11 August, we supported veterans and staff to appear on Channel 4 News.
The news from Afghanistan should serve as a reminder of the nation’s duty to continue supporting those who live with visible and hidden wounds, and to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.
Those who shared their stories and views with Channel 4 News were:
Phil Hall, Complex Case Manager at Help for Heroes, who worked at field hospitals in Afghanistan, including the famous Sangin Valley.
Discussing the ongoing need for support, Phil said:
“For many who served in Afghanistan, the battle isn’t over. I’m proud to be here for those who have served in the British Armed Forces who need our support, as well as some of the local interpreters who served alongside us now living in the UK.
"But we know there are others who have yet to reach out, years later, and I want them to know that we’re here for them. As a Charity, we are here to support veterans, and their families, to live independent, fulfilling lives. We work closely with other agencies and organisations to do this and will continue to do so for as long as they need us.”
Michelle Partington’s dream job as a paramedic in the RAF turned into a nightmare when horrors from the battlefield led to flashbacks, nightmares and an eventual diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She lost her home and her career, but with support she found the resilience to battle back.
On how far she has come and her time in Afghanistan, Michelle said:
“For me, I no longer want to take my life, I want to take it as far as I can. I may have left Afghanistan, but it never leaves me.”
Dean Middleton deployed to battle the Taliban in Afghanistan with 2 Paras in 2010 after seven years with the Regiment. He sustained multiple injuries after being caught up in an IED blast and faced a daily struggle to battle back from his injuries.
Talking about his life now, Dean said:
“With the help of the Charity, thanks to the support of the general public’s donations, I’ve had a second go at life and despite my injuries I believe I’m in a better place now than I was prior to my time in Afghanistan. But there are many more people out there who still need that support and would benefit from the opportunities I’ve had. I’d encourage them to speak up.”
We are encouraging anyone adversely affected by their time in Afghanistan to reach out for support.
If you are a veteran and have been affected by the recent media coverage, we are here to support you.