Prince Harry – Heads Together
One familiar story that I am used to hearing from my military clients is that they are too afraid of highlighting their mental health issues to Officers or MO’s because of the stigma attached. This embedded military culture of “soldiering on” and the resounding fear of speaking up to those in charge must change.
Prince’s Harry’s efforts to end the taboo surrounding mental health must be applauded. His unprecedented insight into his past is in the hope that it will encourage people to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues. His recent revelations suggest that he sought counseling after enduring two years of “total chaos” whilst struggling in his late twenties to come to terms with the loss of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Inevitably we all suffer loss and trauma at some stage in our lives, and we need help, I know that I have.
Prince Harry has said that his work with the personnel recovery unit, where he listened to wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women talk about serious mental health issues, had proved a turning point in his understanding. He has told journalists “I know there is a huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it’s only ever going to make it worse”. It is important that you tell someone – you should not have to suffer in silence.
About Heads Together
The campaign is jointly co-ordinated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, with the aim to end stigma and mental health in the UK. The project is a partnership between several charities including a collaboration of military support organisations. The ‘Heads Together’ partners run confidential helplines and online services.
Heads Together – https://www.headstogether.org.uk/
Signs & symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
There are several types of mental illnesses, but the main psychiatric injury suffered by servicemen and women appears to be combat related PTSD.
There are three main groups of symptoms complained of:
- Re-experiencing phenomena such as nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories, and symptoms of psychological and physiological arousal at reminders of the index trauma;
- Avoidance behavior, such that individuals avoid reminders or triggers of the index incident, and tend to withdraw into themselves and shy away from social contact;
- Symptoms of mood change and cognition; and symptoms of heightened arousal and reactivity.
If you are suffering with any of the above symptoms then you must speak to your Medical Officer or civilian General Practioner as soon as possible and seek professional medical advice.
The MoD has a duty to take mental health issues as seriously as a physical injury. I have successfully represented service personnel and veterans in bringing claims where no help was received.