|Talking2Minds founder, SAS veteran Rob Paxman|
TODAY I’m taking on a new role heading up the PR operation at the forces charity Talking2Minds.
As their new Public Relations Director it is one of the most important and significant challenges in my career.
Talking2Minds helps soldiers, sailors and airmen recover from the cruel effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The silent, corrosive disorder borne from severe psychological trauma, destroys lives as surely as a missing limb.
And as so often with war casualties, it is friends and family who suffer in equal measure.
Marriages and friendships often break down as chronic anxiety attacks and painful flashbacks turn them into angst ridden shadows of their former selves.
Careers are shattered as many turn to alcohol or drugs to escape the painful memories of war.
And with British troops being committed to various theatres of war in recent years, the number of victims is growing.
But it’s not just the veterans of recent conflicts who need our help.
Even veterans of World War II are still suffering silently.
One member of my family who served then suffers still. In 1942, while fighting in North Africa as a ‘Desert Rat’ at the Battle of El Alamein, his convoy was dive bombed by a Stuka.
His truck was hit and he was blown clear but his four comrades perished in a ball of flames.
Seventy years on, aged 92, he still suffers nightmares and survivor guilt as he lay in the sand and watched helplessly as his friends burned to death.
Talking2Minds funds the treatment of men and women from all conflicts who have PTSD.
Members of the civilian emergency services are also coming to Talking2Minds to help deal with PTSD as a result of witnessing appalling human tragedy.
So far, Talking2Minds has successfully treated 380 men and women by funding their treatment with trained psychologists and specially trained therapists.
But they have 1,800 other victims waiting in the wings to be helped.
Many come to Talking2Minds after failing to find a cure through the NHS, which relies on cognitive behavioural therapy and drugs.
Instead, Talking2Minds uses psychiatrists and therapists who tackle the problem without the need to directly confront and relive the traumatic episode which has scarred them.
Their, or I should now start saying, ‘our’ success rate has been astonishing, with most of the victims now on the road to recovery and leading normal lives again.
But to continue with our work, Talking2Minds needs donations.
Over the past few weeks, I have been devising a campaign to bring this charity to greater national attention.
This will be announced in the coming weeks.
But as our plans began to take shape, the charity’s founder Rob Paxman asked me to come on board to oversee this exciting and important venture.
I have known Rob for many, many years. He is an SAS veteran and PTSD survivor himself after seeing active service in Bosnia and Iraq.
Every time Rob comes to my home for lunch, he has left with a £100 cheque for his charity. In the summer, I walked 92 miles along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path for another forces charity.
I have always put my money where my mouth is with our servicemen and women. Now I can give them my time too and it is an honour and a privilege to do so.
Finally and for the first time in my life some might say, I have found a ‘proper’ job!
We need our heroes and heroines serving on the front-line.
But many of them now need us.
Please help me to help them.
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