Stress of Living with War Trauma Can Tear Families Apart. Problem Is the Government Have Abdicated All Responsibility; HIDDEN IMPACT OF THE AFTERMATH OF CONFLICT IMPACT CONFLICT; Author Says Vets and Their Loved Ones Are Left to Rot

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), January 15, 2018 | Go to article overview

Stress of Living with War Trauma Can Tear Families Apart. Problem Is the Government Have Abdicated All Responsibility; HIDDEN IMPACT OF THE AFTERMATH OF CONFLICT IMPACT CONFLICT; Author Says Vets and Their Loved Ones Are Left to Rot


Byline: STEPHEN STEWART s.stewart@dailyrecord.co.uk

THEIR loved ones came back from the horrors of war as heroes in need of support.

But it's not just service personnel who can suffer in the aftermath of conflicts - it can devastate the lives of their partners and families, too.

And while understanding of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has grown in recent years, a Record investigation found that secondary trauma often goes unrecognised.

In a series of special features, we will show that in homes around the country, thousands of people are fighting lonely battles to stop the aftershocks of war ripping their families apart.

Many are doing their best to cope with the confusion, self-doubt and heartbreak of seeing their relationships crumble because of psychological injuries their partners suffered on tour.

Matthew Green, author of Aftershock: Fighting War, Surviving Trauma and Finding Peace, has highlighted the hidden toll of secondary trauma.

He said: "We've overlooked the impact of secondary trauma on military families as there's still so much stigma around mental health in wider society and the military.

"Veterans with post traumatic stress can find it very difficult to open up about what they're going through, which can make it even harder for their families to seek help.

"The wives or partners of ex-forces personnel suffering from war trauma often pay the highest price.

"The stress of living with somebody suffering from anxiety, flashbacks or addiction can easily tear families apart."

Green said more work needed to be done to discover the true impact of war on forces families.

And he insisted the Government have to take responsibility, instead of relying on veterans charities.

Green added: "We're starting to wake up to the impact that post traumatic stress can have on service personnel but we need to do a lot more to support partners and children.

"We need to make it much easier to access the kind of specialist inpatient care that service personnel with the worst presentations of post traumatic stress may need to recover.

The problem is the Government has abdicated responsibility to the charity sector."

Green believes veterans, serving soldiers and their families have been left to suffer in forces recruitment heartlands around the country.

One war hero took his own life days before Christmas after struggling to cope since a tour of Afghanistan.

Green describes in heartbreaking detail the suicides of Aaron Black and James Lindsay, two young Afghanistan veterans who died within a month of one another.

The writer, 39, who has reported from 30 countries and been embedded with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, added: "My journey meeting ex-forces across Britain began and ended in Scotland.

"It was here I found some of the most poignant examples of the system failing young men who had risked everything in Afghanistan.

"But it was also where I found some of the most inspiring work being done to help former combatants heal."

The charity Combat Stress revealed that 2264 people sought help for mental trauma in 2014-15 - a 26 per cent rise in a year.

The Ministry of Defence said the number of service personnel with "mental health disorders" rose from 3927 in 2011 to 5076 in 2013. …

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