As Armistice Day nears, we shouldn’t forget the struggles of those from other conflicts whose mental scars go untreated It’s late afternoon and once again I find myself in the family room of the A&E unit at our local hospital, attempting to reassure an armed forces veteran that he won’t be turned away and that we will get him the support he so desperately needs. This isn’t the first time I’ve been here under these circumstances and it won’t be the last. This former soldier had come to the veterans’ support project that I run earlier in the day; eyes wide and frightened, barely able to talk. One arm was crisscrossed with self-inflicted lacerations made with an old army lock knife to distract from the traumas that relentlessly haunt him. This once proud man, who served his country for almost a decade and a half, being deployed on numerous operations and reaching the rank of sergeant, is now living in a low-dependency residential unit for veterans who require extra support. All these men are diagnosed with mental health difficulties; some are dependent on alcohol and drugs.
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