Combat Stress launches new campaign revealing the impact of military-related trauma

Combat Stress launches new campaign revealing the impact of military-related trauma

By Claudia Foxcroft

Veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress launches a new campaign on Monday (29 April) to reveal the devastating isolation experienced by veterans with military-related trauma.

Combat Stress collaborated with Channel 4’s in-house creative agency 4creative to create the film Combat Stress – Bring Them Home, which shows how mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can leave former servicemen and women withdrawn and isolated from family, friends and their community.

The film features a group of real-life veterans who have served in conflicts including Northern Ireland, Gulf War, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

After leaving the Armed Forces, veterans may physically be “at home” but psychologically can be trapped in the past, reliving their trauma on the battlefield through flashbacks, nightmares and constant anxiety. Left untreated, the trauma can destroy relationships, tear families apart and devastate lives.

Combat Stress brings veterans all the way home by providing world-leading specialist support and treatment to enable them to overcome mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said:

“We see the impact of trauma every day in our treatment centres across the UK. Veterans tell us how they struggle to leave the battlefield behind, making it impossible for them to adjust to life back home. Through this film, we aim to raise awareness of the role the public can play in helping us to bring veterans home, all the way home.

“We are enormously grateful to the generosity of the team at 4creative for making this film for us free of charge. It’s been a rewarding experience working with them and we’re extremely proud of the result.”

A team from 4creative created the film for Combat Stress for free. Working with a freelance crew and staff from post-production houses, the team donated their time and resources to make the film.

Jack Croft and Stacey Bird from 4creative said:

“For this campaign we wanted to focus on Combat Stress’ role in treating veterans who suffer with the effects of war after they return. There is something terrifying about the idea that you can suffer flashbacks to what is very likely one of the worst moments of your life. That’s why we chose to focus on this symptom to bring the effects of PTSD to life for viewers. 

“We felt incredibly grateful to create this campaign for Combat Stress and have been completely astonished by the generosity of people in the industry who worked for free to help make work for such a great cause.”

Combat Stress is asking the public to show their support for veterans by donating to the charity and sharing the film on social media. Referrals to Combat Stress have doubled over the last decade and the charity is heavily dependent on public donations to continue providing its life-changing treatment to veterans.

To find out more about the film and make a donation to Combat Stress visit www.combatstress.org.uk/future.

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

For a century we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health issues like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Each year we see an average of 2,000 referrals. Demand for our services continues to grow – in the last ten years we’ve a 97% increase in referrals.

On average it takes 13 years after leaving the military for veterans to contact Combat Stress for help, by which time their condition is often highly complex. However, veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts are coming to Combat Stress much sooner (four and six years respectively).

To help veterans rebuild their lives, we provide a range of free services:

  • Short-stay clinical treatment at our treatment centres in Ayrshire and Surrey
  • A specialist PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme – delivered at our treatment centres
  • Occupational therapy – delivered at our treatment centres and in the community, we use meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, wellbeing and recovery
  • Outpatients  assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists – at our treatment centres and in the community – enables us to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment veterans require
  • Community Teams – providing treatment and practical support to veterans. Last year our regional community teams undertook almost 5,400 face-to-face appointments
  • Peer Support Service – Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The service enables them to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others with similar experiences.
  • Substance Misuse Case Management Service – helping veterans to access the services for their drug and alcohol problems so their mental health issues can be addressed
  • We have a 24-hour Helpline available to veterans and their families (0800 138 1619) and to serving personnel and their families (0800 323 4444)

Useful links

Our website: combatstress.org.uk

On Twitter: @CombatStress

On Facebook: facebook.com/CombatStress

On LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/combat-stress

On Instagraminstagram.com/combatstress/