1. ITV Report

NHS Wales urges veterans with mental health problems to seek help

Credit: PA

The NHS in Wales says it is urging veterans to seek help if they are having problems with their mental health.

Veterans NHS Wales say that despite an increasing number of former soldiers using their service for support with service related mental health issues, many more are suffering in silence.

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There is a stigma around seeking mental health support and people can be struggling for quite a few years before they do come forward and seek support. We want to ensure that every veteran in Wales knows that they are not alone, and we can provide the support they need to help them deal with their problems and get on with their lives.

– Karen Hawkings, Veterans NHS Wales Psychological Therapist

Tom Adamson developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving in Northern Ireland and spent four decades battling flashbacks, sleep problems and anger issues before getting psychological therapy.

The 59-year-old says he would have been dead without the intervention of Veterans' NHS Wales five years ago.

The hard thing for a veteran is accepting that you have a problem, and there is a culture in the armed forces that looking for support is a weakness.

I can honestly say that therapy has done me the world of good and the people around me tell me how much I've changed.

It's important people realise that it's not a short term fix, and to make the therapy work you've got to open up and let everything out.

The harsh reality is that PTSD and feelings of guilt will never go away completely. But Veterans' NHS Wales have been a godsend in helping me to understand my guilt and helping me to deal with it.

I'd encourage any veteran struggling with their mental health to contact Veterans' NHS Wales, as getting therapy really can help to make life a hell of a lot easier.

– om Adamson, veteran from Anglesey