Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that affects many military veterans and can be a life-long debilitating illness.
Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, hallucinations, avoidance of particular areas, and intrusive and distressing thoughts.
This International PTSD Awareness Day, NHS Property Services (NHSPS) is celebrating British soldiers who served – or are currently serving – in the UK Armed Forces, whilst acknowledging the struggles they face daily.
To play a part in addressing PTSD, NHSPS has worked with a range of organisations to build a social prescribing programme at the Unity Health Centre in Suffolk. This includes Combat2Coffee, an initiative aimed at supporting veterans with a mental illness – such as PTSD – and assisting soldiers in navigating life outside of the armed forces.
Combat2Coffee, was first established by Nigel Seaman, who served in the UK Armed Forces for over 12 years. The organisation now runs the community café at the Unity Centre in Ipswich and provides veterans with rehabilitation support, tailored mentoring, training, and outreach.
By helping veterans become active participants in their treatment, they can engage with the community programme and focus on their wellbeing whist building social networks. The project saw a once vacant space become a hub for former soldiers experiencing mental illness, and it continues to provide integral support for those tackling PTSD.
Rhea Horlock, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for NHS Property Services, said: “Veterans put their life on the line for us and many now deal with a number of significant mental illnesses. This International PTSD Awareness Day, we thank our soldiers – formerly and currently serving – and acknowledge their ongoing struggles with mental illness.”
Rhea added: “Through social prescribing, we’re able to play a small part in the wider Combat2Coffee programme – it does amazing work assisting veterans experiencing mental illnesses. Combat2Coffee will be an initiative we will continue to support, and we hope to implement more programmes that address these topical issues.”