“Hearing the struggles veterans are facing now is hard. Uncertainty is a common issue for many we speak to and being unable to do many of the things that have been positive coping strategies for them in the past has taken its toll." James York, Hidden Wounds Counsellor
The lockdown may be lifting, but the coronavirus outbreak is having a lasting impact on the lives of veterans and their families. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of veterans and serving personnel struggling with their mental health has risen by 50 per cent.
With our recovery centres closed, our teams are working tirelessly to adapt our services and deliver mental health support by phone and online.
Here, James York, a counsellor from our Hidden Wounds team, explains the issues veterans are struggling with as the result of an unsettling few months, and how he and the rest of his team are making sure they’re still here for them.
“Hearing the struggles veterans are facing now is hard. Uncertainty is a common issue for many we speak to and being unable to do many of the things that have been positive coping strategies for them in the past has taken its toll,” explains James.
“Anxiety and stress have also increased, due to fears and concerns around what’s going on. A lot of our veterans are reporting issues around relationships at the moment, and many are experiencing problems with sleep.”
With the lockdown beginning to ease, some of those we support are worried about going back into the outside world. Veterans, especially those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions, tend to experience higher levels of loneliness and isolation day today and the lockdown had heightened their anxieties.
“There are worries around what the new way of being will be like. Some worry about how they’ll interact with people again - being in lockdown has helped them with avoidance strategies and the thought of going back out again and having to mix with people is a cause of stress”, says James.
With our recovery centres closed, James and his team have been working hard to keep our wounded, and their loved ones, feeling safe and connected during these difficult times by delivering mental health support over the phone and online.
“When the lockdown started, we had to make very quick changes to the way we offer support,” says James. “We moved swiftly to offering therapy either by telephone or video, so we can keep contact on a regular basis.”
“It’s about being able to offer regular support and spend that time with someone. Life can be really difficult for those we support, without the complication of lockdown measures as well.”