29-year-old Welsh Guardsman, L/Sgt Dan Collins, was found dead on New Year’s Day after taking his own life.
Girlfriend Vicky Roach has said that the soldier faced a “constant battle” after being shot twice and having lost two close friends in Afghanistan, and is calling for more help for charities helping soldiers with PTSD.
Roach explained to BBC Wales in an interview, that what happened on Sunday was not Collins first attempt to take his own life.
“If you lose a leg or an arm – don’t get me wrong, that’s horrendous – but you deal with it and you move on,”
“He couldn’t move on, there was no way of him moving on.
“It was a constant battle in his mind every day, and he was fighting this battle.” She said.
Toby Harnden, a journalist and author – met Collins and spent some time with him whilst conducting research for a book about the Welsh Guards.
He described the soldiers escapes from death as ‘miraculous’ and said that he believed that the way Dan had to cope with people who were dying or dead was something that had really eaten away at him.
Roach and Collins met back in February 2011 after he returned home from Afghanistan, and only shortly after Roach began to pick up on some unusual behaviour.
Roach described one particular incident in which Collins had dropped to the floor in a Tesco store after a loud noise spooked him, and also spoke of other incidents such as nightmares, screams and shouting.
After Roach encouraged Collins to seek help, he received regular counselling sessions through the army though still remained deeply troubled and unable to speak openly about his experiences to his family.
Roach is now calling for more help to be given to charities such as the Bridgend-based Healing the Wounds, which aims to help Welsh soldiers suffering from mental health issues.
“If we can just save one soldier in the future it will mean the world to us.” Said Roach.
If you are concerned that either yourself or a loved one may be suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, please visit our fact-sheet for information about how counselling may be able to help.
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