One of the most difficult aspects of PTSD is that it isn’t apparent straight away and can often go unnoticed for years before it rears its head. Suffers have described how your mood and your character changes but you don’t know why or realise whats going on.
Don Sim was a Royal Navy weapons officer on board a destroyer during the Falklands conflict. He suffered from panic attacks and turned to alcohol before divorcing his wife. He is now getting help as part of a two year project for veterans suffering with PTSD in Cornwall, one of six being funding by the Ministry of Defence.
Almost a year since Mr Sim began the pilot he says it has given him the help and support he needed, this was aided by the fact he was with other ex-service people.
Nearly a year after the pilot started, Mr Sim says it has given him the help and support he needed, helped by the fact it was with other ex-service people.
Mr Sim spoke of when he used to visit general counselling and explained how he felt uncomfortable because there was such a large range of problems mixed together he didn’t feel as though he could talk and when he did he felt stupid.
In the first six months of the programme, a total of 1,636 servicemen and women were diagnosed with a mental disorder by the defence medical centre, reports the MoD.
That means that less than 1% came forward for help in that period while serving. Of that nujber 66 people were given initial assessment of PTSAD.
For Mr Sim, the new scheme has been the lifeline he says should be offered to all servicemen.
“When I come here I know that other people understand exactly what I’m going through.”
“This has got to continue.”