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Friday 13 September 2019

How Help for Heroes grant funding changed Davey's life

Posted by: Help For Heroes

Help for Heroes has grant funded nearly £700,000 to ensure veterans in Wales suffering from mental health problems will get quicker access to support.

We grant funded £517,389 to Veterans’ NHS Wales to improve mental health support to military veterans. The funding means 120 veterans with service-related mental health problems will have improved access to effective support and benefit from reduced waiting times. The Change Step project, in partnership with Veterans NHS Wales, received a further £178,000 from Help for Heroes to provide veteran to veteran peer mentoring to enhance the support provided.

Read the story of Davey Roberts to see how our funding has made a difference.


Davey Roberts served as an RAF engineer for 16 years, and was responsible for maintaining the aircraft, equipment and weapons systems defending the UK against hostile threats both at home and abroad.  A highly-trained and important member of personnel, the father-of-two found himself posted around the world for long periods of time. 

On his return to civilian life, Davey forged a new career at a large transport organisation and began foster caring with his new partner.

But shortly afterwards he became ill.  The family were no longer able to foster, and Davey was placed on long-term leave from work.  Financial pressure began to mount and he became depressed, negative and lethargic.  Davey was plagued by the memory of an urgent call to recover an aircraft which had been involved in a high-velocity crash and the body of its pilot.

Despite his initial reticence, with the support of his family, Davey contact Veterans NHS Wales and received a formal diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Davey was connected with a Change Step peer mentor, himself a former RAF serviceman.

The two veterans met and shared some common ground and, alongside Davey’s therapist, began to work on his recovery.  Davey’s journey back to health required a lot of hard work, but with the help of both organisations, he was able to recognise that his body had shut down and was in flight – and able to use the new therapeutic techniques he had learnt to address his condition.

Before receiving support from Change Step and Veterans NHS Wales, Davey was cynical about the process and reluctant to talk about the feelings and experiences troubling him. Now he has a simple message to any veteran experiencing similar issues: “Just try it, what have you got to lose?  What’s the other option, stay where you are?”