On Armed Forces Day 2020, which takes place on Saturday 27 June, the mental health charity PTSD Resolution is going to be highlighting the plight of Armed Forces’ veterans who find themselves in the criminal justice system. Many are suffering from military trauma and are not receiving the therapeutic support that they need to become well again and rehabilitated.
The specialist charity works with security companies and myriad organisations, among them ASIS UK, in order to provide therapy for staff who have been traumatised, as well as training for line managers.
On Friday 26 June at 1.30 pm, PTSD Resolution is holding a free webinar entitled ‘Trauma Awareness Training for Everyone’. The TATE Programme helps people to recognise the symptoms of trauma in themselves, their colleagues or members of staff whom they manage. It provides valuable information on appropriate support and routes for both referral and treatment.
The charity has also launched a special film that tells the story of a former HMPS prisoner and veteran of the First Gulf War. Entitled ‘The Silent Years’, the film was produced and donated by students of the Ravensbourne University, namely Shakeel Hussain (editor), Louise Corleys (editor and sound), Poppy Louise Carter (director) and Diana Alexandru (producer).
Addiction and breakdown
Government statistics estimate that approximately 4% of those in custody and on community orders are ex-Armed Forces personnel, but external estimates claim that the proportion in the prison population may be as high as 17%.
In addition to criminality, military trauma when left untreated can result in addiction, family breakdown and even suicide.
“The Coronavirus lockdown gives us all some idea of the stress of losing our freedom even if we’re not actually in prison,” explained Patrick Rea, campaign director for PTSD Resolution. “Plenty of veterans find themselves in the criminal justice system. In many instances, this is at least in part because of the effects of military trauma they’re still suffering. If they don’t receive the therapy they need in prison to become better, how can we expect them to re-join society responsibly? This is both a justice system and a humanitarian issue.”
For its part, PTSD Resolution has provided free mental health therapy to veterans, reservists and their families for eleven years now and taken care of people right across the UK. It’s one of the only providers of specialist help to former Armed Forces personnel while they’re in prison or have alcohol and/or substance abuse problems. Treatment is available through a network of 200 therapists, either online or by telephone during the current lockdown scenario.
Reporting of symptoms
According to research conducted by the British Journal of Psychiatry, among ex-Armed Forces personnel, no less than 17% of those who had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2014-2016 reported symptoms suggesting PTSD. Those deployed in a support role such (eg medical, logistics, signals, aircrew) were affected at a rate of 6%, which is 1-2% higher than in the general UK population.
Emerging studies are indicating that, following the COVID-19 outbreak, rates of PTSD among those serving as medical key workers or Emergency Services personnel and who have been personally affected by the pandemic are likely to be much higher.
*For further information on PTSD Resolution visit www.ptsdresolution.org