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Remembrance Day, mental health and veterans

We understand that Armistice Day - also known as Remembrance Day - can be difficult for veterans.

As the nation reflects upon the great sacrifices made by service men and women, people who have served in the Armed Forces can find the day to be a challenge. The increased national focus can bring up deeply personal, upsetting and overwhelming memories. Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may also find that their symptoms worsen on the day.  

If you have served in the military and have been struggling recently, it is important to remember that you are not alone. What you are experiencing is completely understandable and there is support available to help you deal with what you are going through.

Looking after yourself on Remembrance Day

If you have found that your thoughts and feelings do become more intense in the days surrounding Remembrance Day, work hard to take good care of yourself. Below are some strategies that you may want to introduce to help manage how you feel:

  • Don’t try to struggle on through alone. Spend time with the people you live with and given the current lockdown, organise Zoom catch ups or phone calls
  • Do something positive and productive. This may be exercising, doing the household chores or starting a DIY project
  • Spend time outdoors in a relaxing environment. You may want to go for a walk or go on a bike ride with your family
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol as they will not help to solve the problem in the long term

If you do struggle with your thoughts and feelings, your sleep and your emotions, and find that you feel down, overwhelmed and alone, it so important for you to reach out and seek help.

The importance of reaching out for support

The transition from the armed forces to civilian life is understandably a difficult one to have to make. Some service men and women find that they start to develop symptoms of PTSD, which can surface months and even years after a traumatic event. The difficulties involved in moving back into civilian life can also lead to veterans experiencing such conditions as depression, anxiety or addiction.

A mental health condition or an addiction isn’t something that you can necessarily overcome on your own. If you are struggling, a good support network is important:

  • Initially, you may want to discuss what you have been going through with close family and friends. They will be able to offer you the support you need from them, whether that is going along to a doctor’s appointment with you, keeping you company or assisting with the things that have been challenging.
  • You may also want to join a support group, such as those run by Combat Stress, Help For Heroes and  SSAFA. These give you the opportunity to talk with fellow service men and women, and gain advice and support from people who truly understand what you are going through.
  • Also, access professional mental health treatment. This can be done through speaking to your GP, contacting a charity such as Combat Stress or working with a mental health treatment provider such as Priory Group. With the correct diagnosis and treatment, you can start to process your memories and improve your mental health so that you are able to live a happy, healthy and productive life.

How Priory Group is supporting the Armed Forces community

Here at Priory Group, we support serving personnel, veterans and their families.

We are actively recruiting veterans, Armed Forces family members, reservists and other members of the Armed Forces community. We have career pathways available to help people set up a second career, and sites across the UK with career opportunities at all levels. If you would like to find out more about our available roles, please visit our careers page.

We are also able to provide mental health support and treatment for serving personnel, veterans and their families with addictions or suffering from mental ill health as a result of serving their country.

We offer both residential and outpatient support across a range of conditions, including all types of addiction and mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. Priory Healthcare also offers discounted rates for members of the Armed Forces community and their families on the cost of private mental health and addictions treatment.

If we can help you overcome the challenges you are facing, please contact us on 0800 840 3219, quoting Armed Forces Covenant.

Blog reviewed by Dr Leon Rozewicz (MBBS, FRCPsych, MRCGP, MRCPsych), Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director of Priory Hospital North London

Get in Touch Today

For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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