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They fight our wars. We fight their battles.

News | Newsletter of the Ex-Services mental welfare society | spring 2010

Fighting for Them

Prince Charles launches The Enemy Within Appeal, the biggest ever campaign by Combat Stress

Our new community outreach teams Inside

The Matterhorn Challenge Tony Banks in the Falklands Events Diary Photo: Geoff Pugh

Registered Charity Number: 206002. Charity Number Scotland: SC 038828. Company limited by guarantee: Registration Number 256353



The Brief

with Chief Executive David Hill

Intelligence Prince Charles, on top form at the launch of The Enemy Within Appeal, with Johnson Beharry VC.


The Totaliser

Target: £30m!

The Enemy Within Appeal is an incredibly ambitious campaign, the biggest one that Combat Stress has ever mounted by far. But then the need for an improved service has rarely been greater. Here are some of the key numbers concerned…

New Appeal, New Challenges Right now, the entire Combat Stress operation is buzzing with excitement. For one thing, we’ve just had the highly successful roll out of The Enemy Within Appeal, the biggest fundraising campaign the charity has ever run. All went smoothly at the St. James’s Palace launch event on March 11, with our patron HRH The Prince of Wales on excellent form, and the public reaction has been fantastic: certainly, the press has shown a lot of interest, with major coverage everywhere from The Daily Telegraph to Channel 4 News online. This has been great to see, as one of the aims of The Enemy Within Appeal is promoting awareness of the plight of many ex-Service men and women. Of course, the other aim is to raise a huge £30m, necessary to finance Combat Stress’s increasing activity, not least the establishment of 14 absolutely crucial Community Outreach teams. There’s plenty of information within these pages about how these teams will work, why we need them, and how you can help support them. Please get involved: every contribution, no matter how small it may seem, will help.

Inside this issue Intelligence 90th Anniversary Special 5 Things I’ve Learned Events Calendar

2 6 10 11

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ast year was an important one for Combat Stress, but 2010 is shaping up to be even more vital, thanks to the launch of the biggest campaign in the history of the charity. Dubbed The Enemy Within Appeal, it’s designed to help us meet the demands of the coming decade. In particular, we need systems in place to help us cope with the expected high number of ex-Service personnel in need of psychological therapy following their experiences in past conflicts, not least the recent and ongoing situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the appeal’s launch by HRH The Prince of Wales at St. James’s Palace on March 11, he warned of the dangers of stored-up psychological injury amongst both former and current Service men and women. “To me it seems that their courage and fortitude, commitment and sacrifice are unceasing,” he said. “We are all aware of the terrible, life-changing physical injuries which many of our troops suffer from. What we know much less about are

the psychological injuries. The scale of the problem is considerable.” The headline aims of The Enemy Within Appeal are ambitious but necessary. At its core is a need to develop and enhance facilities at the charity’s three existing treatment centres in Surrey, Shropshire and Ayrshire – where bespoke intensive treatment programmes are provided – and to establish a nationwide network of 14 multidisciplinary Community Outreach teams, designed to enable Veterans and their families to receive treatment and support for mental ill-health in their local areas. These new Outreach teams, each one expected to cost around £223,000 a year, will consist of a regional welfare officer, a welfare support team member, a clinical psychiatric nurse and a therapist, as well as access to a regional psychiatrist/psychologist. Following successful pilots in Ayrshire and Shropshire, twelve more Community Outreach teams are planned: the largest will be in Northern Ireland, tasked with looking after Veterans spread over a

90 Years Young

Photo: Geoff Pugh

Prince Charles launches The Enemy Within Appeal, the major new fundraising campaign from Combat Stress designed to raise £30m in funds and increase the charity’s reach significantly…


huge geographical area, including the entirety of the Republic. In the first year it is intended that five teams will be established, with seven more being added, funds allowing. “£30 million is a huge challenge,” the Prince said in his conclusion, “and it is vital that we raise this money. Our Service men and women fight our wars. Now it’s our turn to join forces and help fight their battles.”

“Failure’s not an option”

That’s the message from appeal chairman Dr. Chai Patel…

“Wars leave physical scars and disabilities that are often plain to see,” said Dr. Chai Patel, speaking at the launch of our new appeal. “Equally visible are the benefits of rapid clinical intervention and care. What remains invisible are the psychological scars of war – ‘the Enemy Within’. But they absolutely do exist, and we know that they too respond to prompt diagnosis and specialised care. To fail, is to fail those who have courageously and selflessly engaged in some of the most ferocious wars.”

Want to track the progress of The Enemy Within Appeal? Now you can… The Enemy Within Appeal will run for three years, and has a target to reach of £30m – and we’re already well on our way. With an effective launch, and a media partner already in harness, a successful scene is set! To see how events are progressing, you can follow us at or through our Facebook page, or even on Twitter. More conventionally, how about following us through our media partner, The Daily Telegraph? Other

Combat Stress is older than you might think: the charity, still officially called The Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society, was established on 12 May 1919, shortly after the end of the First World War – a time when vast numbers of ex-Service men were returning to civilian life suffering from what was then called ‘shell shock’. The founding trustees, mainly women, knew that the standard methods of dealing with this at the time – including unnecessary confinement to lunatic asylums! – were wrong. Since then, Combat Stress has helped almost 100,000 Veterans, as seen in this classic pic.


The percentage increase in new Veteran referrals to Combat Stress since 2005.


FOLLOW us online

Formed at a time when little was known about the mental health problems affecting ex-Service men, the very existence of Combat Stress is down to some brave and pioneering men and (especially) women…

The total number of beds in our three treatment centres located across the United Kingdom.

partners include The Royal British Legion, which has promised to fund three Outreach teams for three years; the RAF Benevolent Fund, which has pledged its support for RAF Veterans over five years (and is fully funding one Outreach team for three); and Help for Heroes, which has, outside of the appeal, given £3.5m to pay for our extension at Tyrwhitt House in Surrey.

The total amount The Enemy Within Appeal is targeted to raise for CS over the next three years.


The number of Community Outreach Teams needed across the British Isles.

spring 2010 | COMBAT STRESS news 3


Intelligence sPoTlIghT

1|To raise £30m, needed to enhance and

veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are now being treated, in everrising numbers.


Treating Hidden Wounds “The right care, in the right place, at the right time”: it’s the memorable motto of The enemy within appeal, and rarely have those sentiments been more pertinent.


he Enemy Within Appeal is a huge campaign, massive by the standards of Combat Stress, but it’s an absolutely vital one. The issues of clinical depression, anxiety disorders and, of course, of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – that most complex and debilitating of conditions – amongst ex-Service men and women look certain to become ever more prominent in years ahead. If the depressing downward spiral of isolation, marriage breakups and unemployment that is all too common amongst troubled Veterans is to be broken, decisive moves need to be taken against it, and quickly. The facts are brutal. Combat Stress has

4 CoMBAT sTrEss nEWs | spring 2010

seen a 66% increase in demand for its services since 2005, yet, frighteningly, the average affected Veteran is still waiting 14 years before seeking help. The implications couldn’t be more clear: there is going to be a surge in mental health injuries, one vastly amplified by the sheer number of military personnel serving in recent high-tempo, highintensity conflicts such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. The significance of the problem created in the last decade is only going to become more apparent over the months and years. To help fight this grim reality, The Enemy Within Appeal has been designed with three clear aims.

An image related to the new, hard-hitting The Enemy Within Tv ad: reaction has been strong.

develop Combat Stress’s range of mental health services to Veterans. 2|To raise awareness in the world at large of the plight of Veterans suffering from psychological injury. 3|To encourage Veterans and their families, who might be suffering in silence, to seek our help earlier. The volume of cases now being handled by Combat Stress and others, and the weight of further requirements anticipated down the line, have made it clear that current facilities and practices are no longer fit for purpose in isolation. A sea-change in approach is required, one The Enemy Within Appeal is designed to make possible – and quickly. Typically, a Veteran might currently attend three intensive two-week courses of treatment a year, but between these stays things may deteriorate closer to home. Not only is demand such that waiting times for these courses can be an issue, but it’s become apparent that we need to provide an additional service to support those Veterans who’d benefit from ongoing care that doesn’t demand such an intense residential setting. Further, we need to provide the families, friends and carers who look after each Veteran week in, week out with the support and information they need. The solution comes in the form of the new Combat Stress Community Outreach strategy, already operating in Ayrshire and Shropshire but due to be rolled out nationwide over the next few years. Designed to take our clinical services to the Veterans, wherever they may be, it should provide more people with the regular help they need, our levels of involvement being specifically tailored to the needs of the individual. Improved identification of Veterans in need, and prompt assessment of their requirements, are further benefits of the new system – as is a far greater likelihood that Veterans comply with their prescribed medication. Now, complex cases can be handled by the existing programmes of cutting-edge intensive residential treatment (staying up to six weeks at one of our three main centres), while many more cases can be dealt with by bespoke rehabilitation packages delivered locally by the 14 new Outreach teams, in conjunction with the NHS. The idea isn’t just that we provide more pathways to care, but that we make them less intimidating or inconvenient to access. Most of all, we make it much clearer what they actually are.

The Good Fight uncovering the true numbers

why do so many Veterans take so long to seek professional help with their psychological problems? For the new Community outreach teams, ‘the good fight’ isn’t just about treating Vets in need, it’s about getting them to come forward…

No-one is quite sure how many ex-military personnel suffer from PtSD and related conditions in the UK, but everyone’s certain the numbers can only go up… • What’s the situation right now? in 2009, combat stress treated an active case load of 4,200 Veterans, only a small proportion of which came from the most recent conflicts. nationwide, the charity now has 390 iraq Veterans and 94 afghanistan Veterans on its books, but this is the tip of an iceberg. • Could over 8,500 be affected? a recent study of service personnel deployed on operation Telic 1 (codename for the initial British operations in iraq) showed 4.8% showing symptoms of Post Traumatic stress disorder (PTsd). as 180,000 people have served in iraq and afghanistan to date, if just 5% of them were affected it would mean 9,000 suffering from PTsd.

aS WItH So many conditions, speedy identification of the problem can be the cure to successfully tackling Post traumatic Stress Disorder and other debilitating psychological complaints common amongst exService men. to this end, the Community outreach teams are keen to engage closely with the Veterans’ Community nationwide, providing information, forming peer support groups for carers, and encouraging more people to seek help, not least by attempting to de-stigmatise the need for it: after all, PtSD is simply “a normal reaction to abnormal events”. but why do so many exService personnel take so long to accept that they need help? “It’s partly to do with the culture of being a man,” says tony Letford, clinical nurse specialist at Combat Stress’s Leatherhead centre. “there’s this idea that it’s shameful to show your emotions, that it’s a sign of weakness. mix this with the fact that in the military this is, to some extent, a necessary requirement – people would struggle to carry on if every time something awful happened they became

visibly emotional – and you get a built-in reluctance to talk about your experiences. there’s still this awful time lapse between individuals leaving the Forces and seeking help, but it’s shortening over the years. Guys are coming in now who’ve suffered trauma in afghanistan, say, and everyone expects to see many more of them over the next few years. “the other thing is, the onset of PtSD can be delayed. a personal experience many years later can set it off – your wife dies, say, and life becomes unbearable. but so can witnessing some larger event: you know, you watch something like the twin towers on tV and all that past history resurfaces. It reminds Veterans of a time in their life when they’ve faced traumatic incidents too. It’s a very individual thing. “What we do know, however, is that if it takes someone 14 years to come forward then we also have to deal with whatever drink, drugs and relationship breakdowns there may have been since their military service. It can became a much more complex condition to reverse.”

spring 2010 | CoMBAT sTrEss nEWs 5

anniversary feature

anniversary feature

2009 was a very special year for combat stress. we marked our 90th year helping british Veterans thanks to a huge range of special appeals and events of every size, from epic undertakings like the matterhorn challenge (see right) to a myriad more humble, but heart-warming, contributions. Here are our highlights of a year to remember…

Iain Whiteley raises our flag during the epic Polar race.

our Favourite Year W

e rode bikes through the rain. We carried backpacks across the moors. We dragged sledges through the snow. (We also played golf and went fishing: not every fundraising event needs to be hard or painful, it seems!) 2009 was a year when many, many people went out of their way to help Combat Stress, and we thank them all. It’s heartwarming to hear everyone’s stories (and of the frankly incredible amounts of money you’ve all managed to raise, of course), and even better to hear that many of these events seem to be growing into annual traditions. Long may they continue! It was also a year of more major projects: of the highly impressive Matterhorn Challenge led by Alex Howard-Keyes and endorsed by Falklands Veteran Robert Lawrence MC; and of another Falklands Veteran (and chairman of Scotland’s Balhousie Care Group), Tony Banks, returning to the islands to recreate the Paras famous ‘tab’ across the Sussex Mountains, past Goose Green and Wireless Ridge and on to Port Stanley. The whole thing has been filmed for Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire show, due to be broadcast in mid-April; meanwhile, Tony is well on his way towards reaching the £10,000 target he set out to raise for Combat Stress. Here, then, are just some of the people and their achievements from our anniversary year. There were, of course, many more: we thank them all too. (And if reading this you become inspired to do something yourself for the year ahead, then we can’t wait to hear from you – and to detailing your success in a future issue of Combat Stress News!) 6 CoMBAT sTrEss nEWs

Coombe hill golf Club Charity Day Where? Kingston upon Thames. What? Organised by Stephen

runners from the london 10K: a really rather fit and healthy bunch, we think you ’ll agree.

it was our biggest challenge of 2009: up the exhausting 14,692 feet of the Matterhorn, “the most noble cliff in europe”, with two amazing targets firmly in mind: mastering this most deadly of Alpine peaks, and raising £100,000 for CS. (in the event, things went even better.) Here’s how ex-Army Captain Alex Howard-Keyes and his team did it. The trick? “Don’t look down”… ThE MATTErhorn, that iconic mountain of the Pennine Alps, its four incredibly steep faces rising sharply above the swissItalian border, has long held a grip on the British imagination. It was an Englishman, Edward Whymper, who led the first expedition to conquer it, an epic achievement forever soured by the deaths of four of his party on the way back down. since then the Matterhorn has claimed over 500 lives, making it one of the most dangerous peaks in Europe. It’s also one of the most recognisable, its four-sided pyramid celebrated in the shape of the famous Toblerone chocolate bar. looking for a greater technical climbing test than offered by the Three Peaks 24 hour Challenge that he’d successfully undertaken the year before, ex-life guards officer Alex howard-Keyes last year found himself planning an assault on the Matterhorn to raise money for Combat stress.

and Bobbi Bennett, a morning’s round of golf was followed by a luncheon and auction, where an exceptional £38,500 was raised! Fascinating Aida Where? Nationwide (though

Truro did especially well!). What? Thanks to member Dillie Keane, the three-woman satirical cabaret group adopted CS as one of two charities they supported on their 2009 UK tour. You can find out more at www.fascinatingaida., but at press time they’d raised a stunning £19,508. Sweetly, the website details everything else that ended up in their buckets, including “25 Ecuadorian centavos, {CONTINUED ON PAGE 09}

The mountain Calls

Tony Banks (right) s returned to the falkland for Cs and Channel 4.

“I’ve got mountaineering experience from Army days,” he now says, as he plots a similarly audacious Combat stress charity challenge for the near future, “but though the core of our team was ex-Armed forces, I was always keen to involve people from other walks of life too.” In the event, the four-man climbing party contained two ex-Army guys – Keyes and his friend John Blamire, once a Captain in the King’s own scottish Borderers – as well as onetime Danish Army officer lars Jensen and died-in-the-wool civvie Charles groves, a fund manager in the City and the least experienced mountaineer of the four. “The Matterhorn is one hell of a thing,” Alex says. “We went up the hornli route, which is the classic way up, but none of us had ever experienced exposure like that before. It’s seriously vertical, and very easy to see how fatal accidents can happen, because once you go there’s very little to stop your fall. you certainly have to be careful not to look down, because it’s a sheer drop.

bury, The 1945 Ball at rAf shaw complete with magnificent WW2 plane backdrop.


spring 2010 | CoMBAT sTrEss nEWs 7

Anniversary feature

Anniversary feature

Coming Home Robert Lawrence MC, patron of The Matterhorn Challenge and subject of Tumbledown, talks about an extraordinary life…

Inset: The Matterhorn team, from left: John, Charles, Alex (getting his hair ruffled) and a well-wrapped-up Lars.

Then there’s the summit itself, which is a strange experience because you’ve got this very long, narrow ridge – it’s so narrow you can sit astride it, but it’s as long as a rugby pitch or more. If you suffer from vertigo it’s not a great place to be.” Part of the reason the Matterhorn is so dangerous is because if the weather turns on you there’s nowhere to hide, so experienced mountain guides push climbers up and down as fast as possible. “Luckily, it was a beautiful day when we went up,” says Alex. “The sun was shining, and John, Lars and I made our assault on the summit from base camp at the Hornli Hut, where you stay the night before, in about seven hours. Charles was a bit slower, but my understanding is the average time people take is north of nine hours, so we were all in good shape. Apparently, if it looks like you’re going to take 12 hours or more the guides – who are with you every step of the way – will pull you off the mountain, whether it looks like the weather will turn or not.” Alex has nothing but praise for his fellow team members and all who supported The Matterhorn Challenge, not least patron Robert Lawrence MC, the former British Army officer made famous by his book about his experiences in the Falklands War – When the Fighting Is Over: A Personal Story of the Battle for Tumbledown Mountain and Its Aftermath – and the 1988 TV movie adapted from it, Tumbledown. “He’s a hell of a guy, but he’s been very badly disturbed by his injuries,” says Alex. “We wanted to support people like him, who may feel left behind by the Army, so we were thrilled that he agreed to be our patron. He

8 COMBAT STRESS news | spring 2010

was awesome: he really got stuck in, and cares so much about the treatment of our guys. He even came to the Matterhorn to support us on our climb, and – would you believe it? – tried to haul himself up to base camp, even though he’s injured. Then, when we came off the mountain, he and his wife had organised this most amazing party for us. The whole team were thrilled to have him on board.”

What’s next? During the next couple of years Alex Howard-Keyes plans a new expedition for Combat Stress and a similar Danish charity, climbing a mountain “with an impossible to pronounce name” in Greenland… “The idea,” says Alex Howard-Keyes with an infectious enthusiasm, “is to go to the east Greenland ice cap and climb the highest mountain in the Arctic Circle, going up by a route nobody’s attempted since the original AngloDanish expedition in 1935. Lars, John and I will be part of a new Anglo-Danish team, and instead of flying in by Twin Otter plane, as modern climbers do, we’re going to man-haul ourselves and our equipment the 110 miles uphill to the mountain. We’re trying to get the backing of the Royal Geographical Society and its Danish equivalent, and – fingers crossed! – someone quite grand wants to be our patron.”

He’ll be 50 this year, and has become a tireless campaigner for Combat Stress, having made a remarkable comeback from injuries suffered in the Falklands. “Next, I’m off to Finland,” he says. “I can’t ride a motorbike, but I’m okay on a Ski-Doo!”


You’re not just a fundraiser for Combat Stress, but you’re also a client, aren’t you? Yes, I’m currently being treated for PTSD. I first started looking for help in ’95, about 13 years after my injury, which is about typical, I guess.


Which you’d now say is much too long for anyone to wait before treatment, right? Well, 256 British troops were killed in the Falklands, and over 350 have committed suicide since. There’s a huge number of ex-soldiers in UK prisons, 25% of the homeless are exmilitary… The figures are clear.


Danish krone, 1 Centre Parcs token and a button.” Better yet, they’re continuing to support us on their Spring tour!

in Troon, raising £8,900, while the Kilmarnock Amateur Operatic Society held a concert evening which, along with a raffle, raised £7,500!

Heroic Individual Efforts

Polar Race: Team Hole in One Where? Somewhere very cold. What? Back in April ’09, Iain Whiteley

Normandy to Berlin Cycle Where? It’s in the title! What? Bruce Smith and his team of Royal

and his Team Hole in One took part in a 350-mile race from Resolute Bay, Canada, to the magnetic North Pole. They were completely self-supporting, dragging all their kit in covered sledges. Not only did they reach the Pole, they also won the race, donating over £6,188!

Navy, Army and RAF personnel and civilians undertook this commemorative journey and raised £4k. A Combat Stress rep met them at the Brandenburg Gate.

We’ve got to take our hats off to everyone here: they’ve put huge effort into their fundraising, and we thank them all whole-heartedly.

Sandhurst Academy raised an exceptional £15,165 at fundraising events; RAF Shawbury donated a sterling £10,100, thanks to their 1945 Hangar Valentine’s Ball and other events; and RAF The Valley (Anglesey) also chose Combat Stress as its Charity of the Year, donating £5,000. Charity March, Scotland Where? Glasgow to Edinburgh. What? We would like to thank Major James

Loudoun and the Royal Highland Fusiliers, who successfully completed a two-day charity march, raising £2,827.

Plymouth Philharmonic Choir Where? Plymouth. What? The choir performed a series

of classical concerts, climaxing at Plymouth’s Guildhall in June. Their total donation was an outstanding £9,500. Long Reach Challenge Where? The Welsh Mountains. What? Major James Coote and the Long

Track Day Where? Snetterton Race Course, Norfolk. What? Christopher Darwin organised a

Mr and Mrs Nick Bright These supporters arranged a Kate Coysten and Friends concert that raised £2,709.

for this year’s sponsored night fishing event, organised by Gillian Holloway and friends. This event is growing every year, and a superb £2,844 was raised.

Michael Hayes, David McCall, Tom Quinn, Ken McKenzie, Alan Lannagan and Stephen Bargh – held a live music evening at the South Beach Hotel

Richard Norris Richard raised £4,335 through a cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats. James Allen James held a Leverage Night (that’s the business ‘edutainment’ game) along with an auction: over £3,000 was raised!

Night Fishing in Poole Where? Poole, Dorset. What? Poole Harbour was the setting

Music in Ayrshire Where? Troon and Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. What? The Dog House Howlers – aka

Henry Hyde of Battlegames Henry Hyde’s Battlegames magazine appeal is aiming to raise £10,000 for us, and has so far topped £5,000!

Reach Challenge team completed their 41-mile course in a faster time than the fastest cadets! We received over £4,500.

successful track day in October, involving over 40 cars. £2,650 was raised, and Christopher is holding another at Castle Combe, Wiltshire on 13 April. Call him on 01288 381265 if you’d like to attend.

Q| Q|

Mark Bisset, the Chilli Piper Mark raised £9,600 for the charity in the last 12 months, piping at Burns Night and at each of our Battle Proms concerts in 2009.

Dragon Boat Race, a breakfast run and a charity dinner – were arranged by last year’s mayor, Councillor David Berry, raising a splendid £11,040 for the charity.

I guess there’s some part inside you that will always remain a soldier… My military career was short but exciting: you live with the volume levels set very high, then to come back and try to fit into what’s a very different society… It’s hard. How did you get involved with The Matterhorn Challenge? I met these guys, and they’re all good lads who were clearly going to get the job done. So many great people helped us: we raised £130,000 in all.

Khumi Burton Many thanks to Khumi for arranging lunch for 120 guests, and to Martin Bell OBE, who spoke about CS. £6,000 was raised.

Kingston Mayoral 2009 Charity Where? Kingston upon Thames. What? A series of events – including a

Forces Charity of the Year Where? Sandhurst/Shawbury/Anglesey. What? Officer Cadets and staff of the

Neil Midgley At Kyran Bracken’s Ice Show Party in Bournemouth, Neil took part in an ice dance face-off, raising £4,000.

R. Durtnell and Sons Thanks for the surprise collection at their topping out ceremony for Margate’s Turner Contemporary Gallery! John Briggs The pretty, rather hairy lass below is Gorse Augusta Chardonnay, John’s pedigree shorthorn heifer, who was sold at auction, raising a splendid 1,000 guineas for CS.

And there’s more!

Thanks also to Jenny Mewes (children’s fancy dress ball), Rory Copinger-Symes (Chala Challenge), Michael Garnett (Ypres walk), Helen Hayward, Rosanna Bulmer, Philip Griffith and more. spring 2010 | COMBAT STRESS news 9


What I’ve Learned


There’s a lot going on in 2010…


April Virgin London Marathon Sunday, 25 April Support our 10 runners pounding the streets of the capital. For more information contact Richard Howard on 01372 841624, or email him at richard.howard@

Things I’ve Learned For Tony Letford, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Combat Stress, the job isn’t about ‘curing’ PTSD, it’s about helping people to make sense of it…


he desperate need for fully recruited Community Outreach teams is highlighted by Tony Letford, clinical nurse specialist at the Tyrwhitt House centre at Leatherhead in Surrey. Trained in psychiatry at one of the special hospitals for the criminally insane, but a vital member of the Combat Stress team for the last ten years, he’s fairly recently completed his training in cognitive behavioural therapy, and now works as a therapist, often spending a couple of days a week out of the centre on home visits. “To my mind Post Traumatic Stress Disorder isn’t a disease, so there’s no cure,” he says. “We aim to provide management of it, and help people make sense of what they’re feeling; education is a really big part of this, and so is acceptance.”

1. Something that didn’t seem to affect you too badly at the time can come back to haunt you.

For those involved in peace-keeping operations, the symptoms are often of guilt: a soldier witnesses a child being raped 20 feet away, but because of UN laws can’t engage. As a 19-year-old you might assimilate that, but when years later you have kids of your own it suddenly hits you like a freight train. 2. Drinking culture doesn’t help.

People can find negative ways to cope, whether that be seeking out high risk environments or through drinking, self-harm, cannabis… In the military experience alcohol is probably the most common way of trying to self-medicate. 3. People will be affected by the same incident in different ways.

I worked with one Falklands Veteran who was at the top of the mast on HMS Ardent when an Exocet hit. Many of his problems come from guilt: he thinks he froze, and if he hadn’t he may have helped save lives. Another man might 10 COMBAT STRESS news | spring 2010

experience the same thing but think, ‘there’s nothing I could have done’, and it wouldn’t go on to haunt him. 4. As a therapist, you need to be willing to admit when something is personally bothering you.

This isn’t a depressing job, but you encounter depressing things, and it’s okay to tell your colleagues how they’re affecting you. Imagine a female therapist who was once in a violent relationship, then finds herself working with a guy who beats his wife. That’s tough. 5. The experiences of soldiers are different from those of civilians who suffer extreme trauma.

The public understand how you might be psychologically damaged by a singular traumatic event, like a terrorist bomb. But the prognosis for those people is fairly good. It’s different for a soldier, who over a career might have suffered 20 separate traumatic incidents.

July Breakpoint Sunday, 4 July Enjoy lunch and a live viewing of the Wimbledon Men’s Tennis Final at a number of stately homes around the UK. For more, contact Jo Grace on 01372 841649, or email her at jo.grace@ British 10k London Run Sunday, 11 July Join our 90 runners, or support them, starting at Hyde Park Corner and ending near the Cenotaph. For details contact Richard Howard on 01372 841624, or email him at richard.howard@ Hampton Court Flower Show 6-11 July Fi Boyle and Dorinda Wolfe Murray of Independent Gardening are making a garden specifically for those suffering from PTSD, to be exhibited at the show, then transferred to

For details, please contact Charlotte French on 01372 841621, or email her at charlotte.french@

Battle Proms 2010 July & August, assorted venues

A Combat Stress tradition, we’ve been successfully collecting at Battle Proms Concerts for the last three years, and we’re pleased to be doing the same in 2010. These are brilliant summer events, full of soul-stirring entertainment – fireworks! Spitfires! Cavalry displays! Cannons firing in time to the music! – in stunning settings. Why not pack a picnic, grab the bubbly and come along? Burghley House, 10 July Blenheim Palace, 17 July Hatfield House, 24 July Highclere Castle, 31 July Borde Hill Garden, 7 August Althorp Park, 14 August For more information contact Faye Waters on 01372 841616, or email her at Tyrwhitt House. To help, please go to combatstressgarden August Hollybush Lecture Tuesday, 24 August This will take place at The Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, with Lt. Colonel Nick Borton DSO MBE – until recently the Commanding Officer of 2 Scots (The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland) – as this year’s guest speaker. He will provide

a vivid picture of what it is like for today’s Scottish soldier to fight on the frontline in Afghanistan. Tickets are £25, to include a sandwich lunch. Contact Charlotte French on 01372 841621, or email her at charlotte.french@ September Annual Donor Dinner Thursday, 9 September This will take place at the HAC (The Honourable Artillery Company) in London, speaker TBC.

Clay Shoot Friday, 17 September A repeat of the very successful events held in 2008 and 2009 at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School. To take part as a team of four will cost £1,000. For more, contact Charlotte French on 01372 841621, or email her at charlotte.french@ November Annual Armistice Day Lecture November (date TBC) This is held at RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) at Sixty One Whitehall. Speaker still to be confirmed, but for more details please contact Charlotte French on 01372 841621, or email her at charlotte.french@ December The Festival of Lessons and Carols Wednesday, 8 December Once again this will be held at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, but be quick! Tickets sell out extremely fast. Contact Charlotte French on 01372 841621, or email charlotte.french@

Your Gift to a Veteran Combat Stress is dedicated to helping those who have suffered injury to the mind as a result of their military service. Through our expanding Community Outreach network, we visit clients at home to see how best we can help. Through our three centres, we provide rehabilitative treatment to help them cope with their disabilities and to enjoy a better quality of life. Name Address

Postcode Telephone Email c I am happy to receive emails from Combat Stress.

To make a donation over the phone, or to make a monthly direct debit, please call

01372 841619 I wish to help ex-Service men and women suffering from Combat Stress. Please find enclosed my donation of £ I enclose a cheque/postal order/CAF voucher made payable to Combat Stress. OR please debit my: Credit/Debit/CAF Card (delete as appropriate) Card No:  Expiry Date:  Security Code:  (last 3 digits of the number on the signature strip)

(for Maestro only) Start Date:

Issue No: 

Signature:  Cardholder’s name (if different from above)  c To save money, please tick here if you don’t want to receive a thank-you acknowledgement. If you are a UK tax payer (and remember, pensions are taxed too) we can reclaim the tax you have already paid on the money you give to help our work. For every £1 you donate we are able to claim an additional 28 pence from the Inland Revenue. This could mean an extra £50,000 a year to help our Veterans.

Simply tick the box below. c Yes, I am a UK tax payer and wish Combat Stress to reclaim the tax on all donations I have made since 06/04/03 until I notify them otherwise. The Inland Revenue has asked us to remind you that you must pay an amount of income tax and/or capital gains tax at least equal to the tax we reclaim on your donations in the tax year.

You must complete the name and address box above for us to reclaim your tax. Please return this completed coupon to:

The Director of Fundraising, Combat Stress, Tyrwhitt House, Oaklawn Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 0BX Registered Charity Number: 206002 Charity Number Scotland: SC 038828 Company limited by guarantee: Registration Number 256353

spring 2010 | COMBAT STRESS news 9

So, what can I do to help?

Now that The Enemy Within Appeal is underway, 2010 looks sure to be our biggest campaigning year yet! We’ve loads of ideas for ways in which you can help us fundraise. Here’s how to get involved…


Volunteers play a vital role in raising funds and awareness, and their enthusiasm shows no bounds. Sports events, auctions, dinners, concerts: the variety astounds! For fundraising ideas, visit www. or contact us on 01372 841616 or email fundraising@


Come and join us! As well as the 10 runners who’ll take part in the Virgin London Marathon 2010 on 25 April, people are participating in everything from the 5k Glasgow Green Run to the Miami Half Marathon. Contact Richard Howard on 01372 841624 or email richard.


Why not try the Asics British London 10k Run on Sunday, 11 July (90 of us took part last year!), or perhaps the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, 10 October? Both are great events! Contact Richard Howard on 01372 841624 or email richard.howard@ for more information on how to join in.


Thanks to volunteers and the organisers (JSL Productions), £20,000 was raised at Battle Proms concerts in ’09. This summer we will again be collecting at all six Battle Proms, and hope for an even better result. To help, contact Faye Waters on 01372 841616 or email faye.

We are grateful to all our supporters, including the following:

12 COMBAT STRESS news | spring 2010

Combat Stress News - Spring 2010  

Inside Prince Charles launches The Enemy Within Appeal, the biggest ever campaign by Combat Stress They fight our wars. We fight their battl...

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