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Afghan veterans charity call

The collapse of Afghanistan into Taliban hands is causing strong emotional reactions for former members of the armed forces, as well family members, many of whom work in the security industry, says Patrick Rea, campaign director of the charity PTSD Resolution.

The charity says that it has seen a surge in enquiries from veterans seeking help with mental health issues as they see the news coverage. Many veterans, who suffered directly or witnessed terrible sights including the loss or injury of comrades, now find they are severely disturbed by memories of their experiences.

PTSD Resolution works and partners with security bodies to fund treatment for veterans working in the sector, including with the City Security Council, ASIS, the Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) and City of London Crime Prevention Association (CoLCPA). The charity is now launching a further appeal for support to meet the upsurge in demand due to August’s events in Afghanistan.

PTSD Resolution – a member of the Cobseo group of veterans charities – provides therapy for the mental welfare of forces’ veterans, reservists and their families, with some 3,000 referrals to date. Trauma treatment is free and can be accessed locally in person, or over the internet, through some 200 UK therapists.

Therapy is delivered in an average of six therapy sessions, with measurement of symptoms before and after each visit. In 78 per cent of cases, the charity reports, there is an improvement in symptoms to a level where the client and therapist agree that no further therapy is required.

Security industry initiatives include TATE, Trauma Awareness Training for Employers. This half-day workshop aims to enable security line managers and HR staff to recognise the symptoms of trauma, and then direct staff members to further mental health support, which PTSD Resolution can provide.

General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO, Chairman of Cobseo says: “The Armed Forces Community, those in uniform, veterans and their families have invested a huge amount in the future of the Afghan people. We served believing that we were doing the right thing in support of a just cause, helping the Afghans rebuild their nation and reducing the risk to the UK of terrorist attacks such as 9/11. The British forces in Afghanistan served with honour, professionalism, bravery and distinction in extremely difficult circumstances.

“It is a record to be proud of. Families who provided support for over twenty years, experiencing the loneliness and worry of separation, raising children on their own for extended periods, and for some enduring the pain of loss, should also be recognised. We have been in touch with MPs, and Ministers through the Office for Veteran’s Affairs, to try to ensure that they highlight the extraordinary nature of that service in their communications as the situation develops.

“The political decision to leave Afghanistan to the Taliban will generate a mixture of emotions: anger, frustration, and a strong sense of being let down. It will be a particularly difficult time for those who have given the most.”



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