"Without support from Help for Heroes during lockdown, I would not have got through it in the way I have.”
The lockdown may be lifting, but the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect 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 currently closed, we’ve been working hard to adapt our service so that we can continue to be here for those who need us. Veterans like Sean Ivey, whose military career came to an end when he was hit by a car and suffered two bleeds on the brain.
"Without support from Help for Heroes during lockdown, I would not have got through it in the way I have,” he says.
“On a typical day I’ll wake up with the kids around 7am, then the carnage begins. Breakfast and sort the kids out, then we’ll walk the dog and do a bit of exercise. This is followed by some home schooling until lunchtime. After this I do my own work.”
This may seem like a familiar lockdown day-to day. But the addition of Sean’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), often makes his difficult.
“I tend to crash. Lack of energy and motivation become a factor and I struggle to focus on things like work.
“This increases my stress levels and then periods of poor sleeping and eating patterns kick in.”
Before lockdown, Sean regularly visited our Hidden Wounds team at our Catterick Recovery Centre. Now, his sessions are being run via video call. He also regularly uses our virtual meet-ups to connect with other beneficiaries online.
“My weekly virtual meetings with Verity from Hidden Wounds are a great help. We’re working through exercises to help me learn more about the impact of my brain injury and addressing my sleep problems.
“I’ve also been involved in a few Band of Brothers get togethers over video call. It's always a pick me up talking to like-minded people with similar experiences.”
“I feel I’ve accomplished a lot regarding my injury. In last week’s meeting I said to Verity how I felt more prepared for the bouts of low moods and negativity because of my PTSD. This time last year I would dread them because once they came over me, I had no control.”
Before lockdown, it was support from our Hidden Wounds team that helped Sean to secure a job at Hartlepool College, which he is looking forward to returning to when the lockdown ends.
“I'm excited to return to work at Hartlepool College. Their support and understanding is excellent, I’m very lucky to work there.
“Thanks to Help for Heroes, I’m comfortable discussing my own mental health problems. In turn, quite a few of the students come to me to discuss their own problems and ask for help. Which I don’t mind one bit!”
Our veterans need us now more than ever. Join us and find out how you can support them today. #StrongerTogether.