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  1. ITV Report

Oxfordshire woman calls for more mental health support for military veterans suffering from PTSD

1st Battalion Royal Regiment Fusiliers dawn patrol, Afghanistan Photo: Ben Birchall/PA

Kate England's husband James has been diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has tried to take his own life twice.

She says she feels pushed out and ignored by the healthcare system.

James England served in Bosnia and Iraq

James England was in the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards.

He served in Bosnia and was involved in fierce fighting during three tours of Iraq and lost friends and colleagues in action.

When he came home to civilian life in Witney with his wife and four young boys, he struggled to cope, becoming deeply depressed.

James England was in the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards

Kate England is not in the army but she has been fighting a long battle.

She's calling for more support for ex-servicemen and women who are struggling with mental health problems.

She says James has severe PTSD and is not getting the help he needs.

I feel incredibly let down. Everybody says 'but you've got all this help'. You've got Combat Stress, you've got Help for Heroes. You've got this and that, but it's not as easy as that."

– Kate England

Kate is passionate in her belief that if there was more training and resources at the point of diagnosis of veterans suffering PTSD, James would be a lot further along the road to recovery.

She's not saying he would be cured, but thinks James would be a lot more stable and would have continuity of care.

This, she believes, is one of the biggest problems in the four years since 2014 when local mental health first engaged with James - he's never had one person overseeing his case.

She says they've almost given up telling the same story over and over to different people.

Kate says more help is needed for veterans

I would like to see a much stronger active case management for veterans and their families so they understand what care is available. Not just so they are steered towards it, but they are steered through every step of the process as well."

– Kate England

Combat Stress is a veterans charity offering therapeutic and clinical, community and residential treatment to former members of the Armed Forces who are suffering from a range of mental health conditions including PTSD.

They say sometimes cases are too complex for it to help and veterans are falling through gaps in care.

Combat Stress the veterans charity says it can't help everyone Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

Our programmes are not particularly well suited. They are a mixture of trauma related CBT and group work.

"If a veteran can't really join because they haven't got control of their emotions or they are simply too angry or too dependent on alcohol or whatever, then our programmes are not always suitable for them.

"The problem is the NHS doesn't really have anything for them either. We really have got to work together to try to fill that gap."

– Sue Freeth, Chief Executive, Combat Stress

The NHS says it is committed to ensuring that ex-forces get the care and treatment they need and deserve, adding it is investing more than £6 million each year in the Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) and the Veterans' Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS).

We are supporting Mr and Mrs England in terms of investigating their concerns and ensuring Mr England gets the right care in a timely manner.

"These services, which are available across England, work with a range of local organisations to ensure co-ordinated care and support is in place for patients and their families.

"These services are in addition to patients and families being able to access the local NHS services where they live."

– Debra Elliott, Director of Armed Forces Health Commissioning

If you or a loved one need help, please click on this link which will take you to different support services available within and outside of the NHS.