At 11am on Remembrance Sunday we will fall silent to honour those who sacrificed so much in defence of this nation – servicemen and women who fell in the First World War, through to those killed in more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We must also spare a thought for those who returned from the front line with life-changing injuries. A small but significant minority of those who served in the UK Armed Forces develop mental health problems related to military trauma. An invisible injury, it can be debilitating for the veteran as they relive memories and feelings associated with frontline combat where they were exposed to the horrors of war in service to this country.
Combat Stress was founded over 100 years ago to support the thousands of soldiers who returned from the First World War with shell shock. Misunderstood, they received little to no sympathy from the public and were either locked away in mental war hospitals or struggled in silence at home. Our charity was then formed to take a stand against the contempt and misunderstanding around mental health at the time, providing respite care for those in need.
We have been there for veterans ever since. Last year we estimate that nearly 12,500 veterans benefited from our help.
So, as we mark this Remembrance Sunday we invite you to honour not just those the country has lost, but to think about the veterans who are in need of support.
Together we can reach more veterans in need and allow them to tackle their past and take on the future.
This can be a difficult time, so we want all veterans and their families to know that help is available. Our helpline is available 24 hours a day, providing free, confidential mental health advice and support . If you or a loved one is struggling, please call 0800 138 1619.