OUR MISSION at Talking2Minds to tell the public about our vital work helping those with PTSD was given a powerful boost with a three page article in the Times last week.
If you haven't read it, please take a few moments to do so here by clicking onto the link at the bottom of the post.
The Times' Defence Editor and veteran war reporter Deborah Haynes had a very tight deadline and needed the whole thing setting up and delivering in three hours.
So our team went into top gear and the result was Deborah’s highly polished and revealing article – with a very welcome plug for us at the end.
Thank you to all the many, many people who flocked to our website afterwards.
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Donations can be made at www.talking2minds.co.uk.
You will be hearing a lot more from us in the coming weeks and months.
At present, I am in the process of organising Talking2Minds to feature in a major TV documentary featuring an A list TV celebrity.
Our message is simple. We fund the treatment of servicemen and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We don’t use drugs. We use therapy – and tea.
In four years, we have treated 380 sufferers with a 97% success rate.
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The Times article is here:
Then click onto, ‘The ticking time bomb inside those who survive’.
If you do not subscribe to the Times website, here is the moving testimony of Craig Spillings, a Falklands veteran and PTSD sufferer.
By Deborah Haynes, Defence Editor, The Times.
The former Royal Marine engineer received a medical discharge from the Royal Navy because of his behaviour in 1985, three years after the Falklands conflict finished.
However, he was given no help to battle the demons that he had been left with because of his service.
Three decades later, life is still a struggle.
Spillings, a married father of three, has tried to commit suicide on several occasions, including standing in the middle of a train track last year, waiting for a train to run him over. “The train never appeared and the police dragged me off the track,” He also jumped in front of a bus. “Unfortunately the bus stopped.”
Asked what caused his mental health problems, he said: “It was the constant bombardment, seeing mates getting killed and being close to death yourself.”
Spillings was posted on HMS Fearless during the 74-day-long conflict with Argentina over the Falklands.
“We were a sitting target. At least the guys on the land were able to move around \[when the shells and bombs were falling\]”.
The trauma of the event took a number of years to alter his personality. “By 1985 I started to suffer really badly. I felt a lot of guilt and I had never felt like that before. I did not want to go anywhere, I would just sit and cry. I went into my shell and wanted to get away from everybody,” he said. “I just could not hold a conversation with anybody. I turned to drink.”
He has gone through numerous jobs since leaving the military but is unable to keep a job for very long. Spillings also said that, sadly, he has managed to alienate members of his family and some of his friends because of the way he behaved.
He empathises with the stress felt by soldiers serving in Afghanistan, including the individual who went on the rampage on Sunday morning in Kandahar province. “I feel really sorry for the guy. When somebody does something like that it is desperation. I know exactly how he feels.
“The British Government was not doing enough to help veterans who suffer mental health problems,” he said, describing their action as a “massive failure”.
“You get a war pension and they leave you to your own devices … after all you have given to your country. They are totally clueless.” Stress-related disorders have been recorded among veterans of conflicts that go back centuries, but the modern understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder stems from the experiences of veterans of the Vietnam War.
The Falklands conflict, the Northern Ireland troubles and the first Gulf War eventually brought post-traumatic stress disorder to greater attention in Britain.
It has become much more of a talking point in recent years as policy makers and the military realise the long-term consequences to the individual and also to society if proper diagnosis and treatment is not made available to sufferers.
Tellingly, some 11 per cent of people in prison and on probation are veterans of military campaigns. They are often serving time for crimes related to drink, drugs and violence — classic by-products of a mental health problem, according to Paxman of Talking2Minds.
The ratio of veterans in jail is far greater than the number of people in Britain who had served in the Armed Forces. “There is clearly something wrong,” he said.
“There are a lot of guys coming back from a tour in Afghanistan with the 1,000-yard stare. They have been looking for the enemy so they build up these coping mechanisms. They have changed. Each and every individual has changed. They have seen stuff that the average person on the street has not seen and it builds up in the back of their mind.”