The National Assembly for Wales’ Health, Wellbeing and Local Government committee has today heard evidence from Welsh mental health charity Hafal on the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment for Services Veterans.
PTSD treatment services have been the subject of discussion in Wales and the rest of the UK for a number of years. Concerns have been expressed about the adequacy of Government action to address the needs of the growing numbers of veterans experiencing PTSD and of the suitability of NHS services in particular.
Among those giving evidence to the committee this morning was John Davies, Practice Leader from Hafal’s Rhondda Cynon Taf project.
During the session, which was chaired by Darren Millar AM, John spoke of:
• The need for holistic treatment to give those with PTSD or any kind of serious mental illness ‘a menu of options’ to help them recover.
• The importance of good training for all healthcare professionals in order to ensure accurate assessment and to prevent returning servicemen from ending up in a “cycle of chaos” where they eventually become homeless and lose their benefits.
• How ex-servicemen find therapy difficult and how the holistic approach can counter this problem.
• Methods on how to ‘resocialise’ and integrate soldiers returning from conflict back into society.
• Waiting times and the ‘postcode lottery’ of services that exist in Wales.
• How education can help address the issue of PTSD and take away stigma.
John was joined by Hafal Staff Volunteer Paul Cleary at today’s meeting. Paul, who served in Northern Ireland, spoke very powerfully about his experiences of PTSD.
He said: “There are days when I suffer serious depression. I get flashbacks of my days in Northern Ireland. I often sit down and think about my friends who never came back. It’s really upsetting. But John is very helpful, he will listen, Hafal is a very good cause.
“A couple of ex-soldiers have come to our project and it’s helped them, and me, quite a lot, to move forward. We’re trying to get back to some normality, the life we used to lead before.”
To view the Health Wellbeing and Local Government Committee webpage please visit: http://www.assemblywales.org/bus-home/bus-committees/bus-committees-third-hwlg-home.htm
For Health Committee coverage on the BBC please visit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/wales/newsid_9016000/9016446.stm
For information on Hafal please visit: www.hafal.org
To view a video with Hafal Chief Executive Alun Thomas on PTSD please visit: http://www.itv.com/wales/call-to-improve-ptsd-aid01828/