Blog post written by Combat Stress.
More than 6,000 veterans are registered with us for support. Demand for our services continues to grow and the recent £1 million grant from Help for Heroes is vital to ensure we can provide help to veterans who need it.
The support offered by our 15 regional Community Teams is an essential part of our services, helping veterans rebuild their lives within their communities. Veterans have access to specialist help and support for their mental health conditions through our community clinics.
Veteran Trevor, who is 68 and lives in Suffolk, is currently supported by our Community Service:
“I spent 29 years and 167 days in the Army. At times it was a stressful job and when I left in 1993, I knew something wasn’t quite right. My GP prescribed antidepressants but they didn’t help so I just threw myself into work, doing seven days a week for the next 14 years. With my physical health declining, I decided to retire at the age of 61.
“My depression returned and I started taking new medication. However when I moved from Essex to Suffolk seven years later, I changed GP and instead of medication, he recommended I contact Combat Stress for help.
“I called the Helpline and from there things moved quickly. After a call from the referrals and triage nurse, I met Carolyn Brown, a Community Psychiatric Nurse who is based at The Royal British Legion Pop In Centre in Colchester. Being able to go somewhere local for help and advice in the first instance was great.
“Straight away Carolyn knew what I was going through. It was such a relief to meet someone who understood.
“Carolyn arranged an outpatient appointment for me with one of the Combat Stress psychiatrists at their treatment centre in Surrey. He diagnosed PTSD at the appointment and changed my medication. Almost immediately I was totally different, a changed person.
“I know now that people are available to help me. I’d recommend anyone to make contact with Combat Stress. I feel brilliant now and life is so much better.”
Carolyn Brown, Community Psychiatric Nurse, added: “The experience Trevor has had using our Community Service is a good example of how we are able to get veterans the help they need quickly and easily. Within just a few weeks of calling our Helpline, he had been to see me and got an appointment with one of our psychiatrists who was able to help him immediately with new medication.
“The next step is for him to attend one of our two-week residential treatment programmes. This was scheduled for last month but due to family health issues, Trevor has postponed it until September.
“After his residential treatment programme, my role will be to support Trevor as he continues his recovery journey. At the community clinic in Colchester and at other locations throughout East Anglia, support groups and Occupational Therapy Resilience and Recovery workshops are offered. In the coming months, I’ll work with Trevor to offer him the most relevant form of help.”
“Our Community Service means we can provide veterans with local, easily accessible help and advice about mental health issues. Trevor, and the other veterans I support, can contact me whenever he needs support and as I’m based locally, it’s easy for us to meet up and discuss things face to face."
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