“I’m incredibly grateful to you for being a part of my journey. Without you, I wouldn’t have my own business or worked at the Nightingale. Without you, I wouldn’t have the closest relationship I’ve ever had with my family and I’d never have met Yvonne."
Thanks to you, veteran Mark ‘Lofty’ Taylor recently found the strength to return to the front line - this time in the fight against coronavirus. This was unimaginable seven years ago, when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) had him in its grip.
Serving tours in Northern Ireland and Kosovo, in 2004 Mark was stationed in Iraq. Whilst there, his battalion were attacked. Two men were killed – and Mark returned a different man.
Back home, Mark suffered from nightmares. Unable to sleep, he easily lost his temper, which affected his career and family. One day, it became too much, and Mark tried to take his own life.
Fortunately, Mark was found before it was too late. Diagnosed with PTSD, he struggled to confront his demons and served for another nine years, suffering in silence.
By Christmas 2012 he began to feel suicidal again.
“It was then a friend found me in a bad way. They helped arrange a leave of absence and a stay at Help for Heroes’ Recovery Centre in Wiltshire.”
From here Mark’s recovery journey began. Our Hidden Wounds Team helped Mark confront his PTSD and depression. And, thanks to your support, Mark also developed the skills to start his own handyman business.
But when the pandemic struck his business was put on hold. Wanting to help, Mark responded to the NHS’ plea for volunteers. Appointed as an Operations Manager he led a team in the day-to-day running of the London Nightingale Hospital.
Now operations at Nightingale are on standby, Mark is unsure what the future holds. His business remains on pause, and he’s also dealing with the recent loss of his partner, Yvonne.
“My recovery journey isn’t over, so it’s good to know Help for Heroes continues to be here for me, especially at the moment.
“I’m incredibly grateful to you for being a part of my journey. Without you, I wouldn’t have my own business or worked at the Nightingale. Without you, I wouldn’t have the closest relationship I’ve ever had with my family and I’d never have met Yvonne.
“I used to say Help for Heroes saved my life. Now I phrase it slightly differently… Help for Heroes, and you, gave me the strength to save my own.”
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 Mark 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.