Since leaving the Army, Ben has been working with mental health services to manage the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression. When COVID-19 struck, we stepped in with a grant for a laptop, enabling him to access support remotely during lockdown.
Ben served with the Royal Anglian Regiment for eight years, completing tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. Of his experience, Ben said: “You’re always on edge because you’ve got to be hypervigilant. What used to get me was the anxiety, the thought of being blown up’. Losing friends and comrades caused his mental health to deteriorate further: “2007 in Helmand was a brutal tour. When [your friends] are killed, you don’t have time to grieve for them. You’re moving on because you’re getting on with the job and it’s only afterwards that it hits you. It never leaves you.”
Since leaving the Army, Ben has battled PTSD, anxiety and depression – compounded by existing trauma from a difficult childhood. When the pandemic struck, he was living alone in a small flat and found the isolation of lockdown unbearable. “I couldn’t communicate with people, it was really depressing. I became more paranoid about catching the virus.”
Before lockdown, Ben had attended PTSD therapy classes to help him manage the symptoms of his illness. These classes moved online due to the restrictions, so our charity helped Ben to purchase a laptop. This meant he was able to attend his support groups online, and keep in touch with his regimental pals. Ben is now making progress in his recovery and is looking forward to the future.
He says: “I didn’t realise I could get this help. It’s just amazing. Linking up with other soldiers and doing Zoom calls with the therapist was amazing.”