What we do / Our Stories / Trevor Cowell

Trevor Cowell

Trevor is 40, lives in South Staffordshire, and served in the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment and RAMC until he left the army in 2016.

During one particular patrol in Afghanistan one of his Corporals (Channing Day) was killed along with a Royal Marine which was, understandably, very difficult to deal with.

After finishing this tour he came back to the UK, and in 2015 left the regular Army and attempted to ease into civvie street. He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2017 and went through difficult times in 2018 when he struggled with the frustrations of working with civilian organisations which didn’t understand the work ethic of the Armed Forces.

Unfortunately, one of the things that stopped Trev asking for help earlier was the misconceptions from the general public around PTSD which he feels were driven by the dramatisation of veterans in TV dramas and films.

 

He says, “All I can recall seeing were veterans who had a screw loose, unstable, with drink problems and who flew off the handle at the slightest thing. I didn’t want the label that PTSD would give me, as I felt people would assume I would be like the veterans they and I had seen on TV.

“I also had the personal pride that so many in the Armed Forces have, in that talking about mental health was often seen as a sign of weakness. Thankfully, that seems to no longer be the case.

“What I never saw on TV or in the cinema were people with mental health issues who were more high functioning, and had a higher work ethic than their civilian counterparts – even though this is often the case. It was only when my wife forced me to go to my GP that I started on my journey to get help and support.

“One really positive moment for me was when I was a police officer dealing with a guy who was ‘kicking off’ and his excuse was that he was a veteran with PTSD. My colleague said to him: “Trev has PTSD and he doesn’t act like that”. It demonstrated that, when people see the full picture of what living with mental ill health can be like, they won’t make the same misconceptions.”

Find out more

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If a television drama or film features a veteran, it’s almost guaranteed they will post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. And they will not be managing their condition well. Having worked with more than 27,000 veterans and family members, we know lazy on-screen stereotypes don’t show a full or accurate picture.

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Kev Gray

Kev Gray

"We’re told to talk out about mental health, but it backfires on us. We have a lot to offer, but if TV and film continue to only show us as damaged goods nothing will change."

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Annette Laurie

Annette Laurie

“It’s nearly always men who are shown with PTSD and, even then, unrealistically. I would like to see more women portrayed with PTSD and, not as violent individuals, but as normal people with psychological issues"

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Jay Saunders

Jay Saunders

“Veterans are always stereotypical in TV dramas and in films – especially those with PTSD. They are automatically a danger to society, a loner who can’t socially interact. They’ll wear drab olive clothes, hit the bottle, and turns to violence"

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David Dent

David Dent

“There's a segment of television and media that will portray people in a negative light. They tend to portray veterans as someone who has got a problem, and I think this creates a degree of unconscious bias in some employers, health care professionals, social services and society in general."

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Armed Forces & Veterans Support

Get support for wounded veterans and families

We’re here when you need us, whether you’re a Veteran of our Armed Forces or currently serving, a family member or loved one.

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