"The day I was medically discharged from HM Forces was the worst day of my life and broke me in every way humanly possible. There was no light at the end of the tunnel."
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of many of our veterans, which is why we are working harder than ever to keep our services running. With your support, we make a promise to be here for our wounded when they need us and for as long as they need us.
Currently shielding at home, former Army sergeant Jonathan ‘Mitch’ Mitchell has found recovery through the power of sport. With our support, he competed in the 2018 Invictus Games and finds being part of the Invictus family aides his ongoing recovery from highly aggressive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Having battled the disease for four and a half years, it eventually led to Jonathan’s medical discharge from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Having wanted to serve in the military from an early age, Jonathan fell into deep depression.
“The day I was medically discharged from HM Forces was the worst day of my life and broke me in every way humanly possible. There was no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Jonathan admits he’s still coming to terms with the fact his body, and mind, will never fully recover from years of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But being part of the Invictus programme and representing Team UK has helped him turn a corner.
Competing in 2018, Jonathan won a powerlifting bronze. Even whilst shielding at home he’s been working hard to better that when he competes in the rescheduled Invictus Games, at the Hague, in 2021.
“Being a part of this Invictus family is everything. It is not about the sport or the medals. It is about recovery and getting on the right track in every aspect of life.”
As the ongoing pandemic continues to have an impact Jonathan and his family, he tries to look on the bright side.
“My daughter Poppy and I are both high risk. We have been through absolute hell and back but it only makes us stronger. We are bonding more than ever as a family which I didn’t think was possible. We get weekly updates from Help for Heroes which is nice, so we can keep in touch throughout lockdown.”
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 Jonathan 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 our help now more than ever.
Together, we can help them regain their strength. Together we are stronger.