"The online (Hidden Wounds) appointments are fantastic. We’re working through exercises to help me learn more about the impact of my brain injury. I’ve also been given help regarding problems with my sleep."
Whilst our recovery centres remain closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been working hard to adapt our support services so that we can continue meet the recovery needs of our wounded.
Former Royal Marine, Sean Ivey, is continuing his regular appointments with our Hidden Wounds team via video call and joining fellow veterans for virtual meet ups.
Sean served for 15 years and had been due to become a colour sergeant when a severe brain injury ended his military career. Serving in Norway at the time, Sean was hit by a car, suffering multiple physical injuries and two serious bleeds on the brain. His head injury left him struggling with his concentration, fatigue and short-term memory issues.
Upon his medical discharge, Sean says his ‘world caved in’. Despite this, he worked hard to retrain as a primary school teacher, qualifying with a 2:1 honours degree in primary studies.
But Sean’s ongoing mental health issues made it difficult for him to hold down a job. By 2018 the struggle became too much. Feeling suicidal, he finally reached out.
“Because my brain injury couldn’t be seen, I put off asking for help. I didn’t think I’d feel comfortable. How wrong I was!”
Since then, Sean has visited our Catterick Recovery Centre for appointments with our Hidden Wounds team. During lockdown, he has continued with his appointments via video call.
“The online appointments are fantastic. We’re working through exercises to help me learn more about the impact of my brain injury. I’ve also been given help regarding problems with my sleep.”
Sean also regularly meets with other beneficiaries online.
“Virtual get togethers are a great way to stay connected with other veterans and see how they’re working their way through the lockdown.”
Hidden Wounds has helped Sean discover new ways to help with his mental health and wellbeing and empowered him to secure a job at Hartlepool College of Further Education. Says Sean, “I feel like I am now a far better person than I was prior to my injury and so I would not even contemplate rewinding the clock if it was possible.”
As Armed Forces Day approaches, show your support for those who give our nation their all. In these uncertain times there are many more like Sean who desperately need support. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak we’ve seen a significant rise in the number of requests for help and a 50 per cent increase in the number of veterans who feel they are not managing their mental health well.
They, and their families, need your help now more than ever.
Together, we can help them regain their strength. Together we are stronger.