For over a century Combat Stress has been helping former servicemen and women deal with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Today the charity provides specialist treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues related to their military service. In the 100 years since the charity was founded, treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has changed enormously. But the mental health problems that former servicemen and women can face are as relevant as ever.
Vicki Washington, Founder of The SHE Show commented on the Partnership:
“We are delighted to have Combat Stress as our Chosen Event Charity Partner! Having worked in the Safety, Health and Environment arena for over 23 years, it’s staggering how many people you meet in the industry who are ex military personnel. Many of whom have either experienced or know someone struggling with PTSD, which is why I feel it is so important to support such a worthy Charity.”
In 1918, the human cost of the First World War was all too obvious. Millions had given their lives during the conflict and thousands returned from the trenches with horrific injuries. But not all of the wounds veterans faced were physical – many who returned struggled to leave the battlefield behind mentally. On the frontline, the constant sound of heavy artillery, lack of sleep and exposure to injury and death had led many soldiers to develop shell shock, what we now call PTSD. The thousands of servicemen who returned home traumatised received little or no sympathy from the public. Many were locked away indefinitely in war hospitals and asylums, while others suffered in silence at home. But the founders of Combat Stress believed that veterans could be helped to overcome their trauma through rehabilitation. Striking out against the contempt and misunderstanding of the era around mental health, Combat Stress began fundraising to introduce residential homes where veterans could live and work, helping them to start rebuilding their lives. By 1920, the charity’s first recuperation home was opened on Putney Hill in South West London.
Over time Combat Stress developed its services, evolving to meet the changing needs of veterans. While a lot has changed over the last century, one thing remains the same: how vital Combat Stress’ support is to the veteran community. Today, a significant number of men and women leave the Armed Forces and develop trauma-related mental health problems. Without the right help, their lives can become desperate. Anxiety, anger, depression, isolation and, in some cases, suicide – all can tear families apart, destroy relationships and devastate lives. Many veterans hit rock bottom before seeking the help of Combat Stress – they often tell the charity” Combat Stress saved my life”. Combat Stress’ unique specialist treatment can transform lives, helping veterans with complex mental health problems to tackle the past and take on the future.