Over the years, British soldiers have served in some of the most dangerous places in the world. The impact on mental health can be huge and for those who return home, the transition to civilian life can be difficult.
Paul Smith joined the Navy when he was 16 and served in the Falklands war. When he returned, became dependent on alcohol, was abusive at home and regularly had breakdowns.
It was 34 years later that he was diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was a charity Combat Stress who focus on veterans’ mental health that ensured Paul got the help that he needed.
“Without going to Combat Stress I’d have probably ended up in a ditch from drinking. And without their help I wouldn’t have my family, I wouldn’t have my daughters, my wife.
“Basically, Combat Stress gave me the tools to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You never get through PTSD, but they gave me my life back.
“I’ve stopped drinking, I haven’t had a drink for four years and I’m not abusive.”
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