P.T.S.D. – Help please with some hard facts!

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Arandale, Jun 17, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I desperately need some hard facts about PTSD and the lack of counselling and services available.

    Currently as I understand the situation some 9,000 personnel or former personnel are in need of assistance with a PTSD issue and there is a distinct lack of capacity available to offer them assistance.

    I believe the problem becomes more acute where someone leaves the services or is medically discharged, again, as I understand it, these people then become the primary responsibility of the NHS which risibly fails in capacity and targeted services that are effective.

    I believe that Combat Stress struggles to provide adequate services to all those who need their help although as a charity they continue to do a magnificent job.

    What about the RBL? What capacity, facilities and services are available through the RBL currently?

    There is a very practical reason for me raising these questions and to seek accurate information.

    Very recently I found myself speaking to the national co-ordinator of one of the UK’s largest charities that provides facilities and services for people with disabilities.

    Given the origins of this particular organisation I enquired as to why they were not involved in the provision of services for former military personnel suffering with PTSD related issues.

    I was surprised to learn that the organisation took a policy decision some time ago not to venture into the field of providing services for people with mental disabilities, the person concerned hastened to add that this policy was taken before his tenure of office.

    I was able to make the point that PTSD issues do not strictly equate to a mental disability rather that it would more accurately fall into the category of a nervous disability that with focused empathetic counselling and rehabilitation would witness the individual overcome the majority of their problems.

    The national co-ordinator was genuinely shocked when I informed him that 255 personnel were killed during the Falklands War but over 300 have subsequently taken their lives.

    He was also genuinely shocked to learn that there is a huge lack of services and capacity to offer those unfortunate enough to suffer from a PTSD issue, he was under the impression that the RBL was able to offer a sufficient service and capacity which I refuted.

    The reason why hard facts are needed is because I work for this organisation and I believe that by the end of our conversation the National Co-ordinator was sufficiently moved by what we had discussed that I believe that he went away determined to re-examine this whole policy issue in relation to PTSD.

    As the organisation is the largest charitable organisation offering services to people with disabilities in the UK, and having a huge network of centres around the country, it might just be possible to generate some interest in a policy reversal or collaboration with other organisations toward seeing counselling and services made available to those so desperately in need of them.

    Information please!
  2. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    I don't know the full low-down with PTSD but its not a mental illness, I think it qualifies as a psychological 'disorder'. This means that it can be very complex to treat, its not a case of throwing medication at it and hoping that it will stabilise brain chemistry. I'm guessing that it is a hard thing to 'budget' for as the treatment could be extraordinarily complex and long term. However terrible it seems, especially in PTSD suffered by servicemen, the budgets will probably be carried out as a mathematical exercise with little thought to the people behind the numbers or what they may have been called on to do.
  3. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Actually strike that, just reached down a book and....it seems that 'repetition in thoughts, nightmares, physical and mental re-experiencing of traumatic experience...induces cortico-limbic release of glutamate...provoking dissociative-like symptoms' which would mean although the aetiology is experiential/psychological it does effect brain chemistry and might be receptive to medication. Doctor I'm not. It goes on to list some medications…
  4. In answer to the 2 above, PTSD shows very similar symptoms to Clinical Depression.

    Anger, feelings of isolation, wanting be left alone, suicidal ideation. Trust me I know, I suffer with clinical depression myself. 'Psychological Disorder' and 'Mental Illness' are one and the same thing. There is a great stigma attached to both in this country still. I was diagnosed back in 2003 whilst a civvy copper, 4years after leaving the RAF. My illness forced me into leaving civpol and since then I have not been able to get any support from either ex-raf or ex-pol welfare services. It has been down to mee trying to support myself and the good old NHS....

    Those of us that suffer are left out in the cold..............................
  5. Id also say its not a nervous disease, or what id understand a nervous disease as such, yes i can be jumpy, though the rest isnt what id like to call a mental or nervous disease, its more as has been said a psychological problem. Which affects people to different degrees.

    9000 troops how far back does that cover, as id say thats low. ? but again not aware of how far back your going.
  6. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    I think the rough definition of a mental illness is a neurochemical process or neurodegenerative condition (with potentially diverse causations) that causes psychological/perceptual effect.

    Whereas a psychological disorder is a environmental/psychological/experiential process that may operate solely at those levels, or may cause (it seems) neurochemical changes. I guess the 'placebo effect' shows us that perception can effect brain chemistry.

    I'm sure its an unimportant difference if you are suffering the effects, but I think that that is how they differentiate the two.
  7. Talk to Combat Stress. They're only a phonecall away. Plenty of hard facts.
  8. DSM IV labels it as an anxiety disorder, the link is here

    Hope this helps somewhat.
  9. I shall be blunt and shortly state that I am deeply suspicious about the motives for this type of inquiry.

    The Treasury would indeed find it highly desirable that the RBL should extend it's resources into the area of PTSD rather than find public money to resource a growing social consequence of lack of investment nationally into this specific area.

    PTSD arises as a consequence of individuals who, in the course of their employment enforce Government policy . The extent to which individuals have been called upon to discharge that responsibility on behalf of their government has increased massively in the last ten years leading to an exponential increase in medium and long term problems the consequences of which are the responsibility of the Government to address and not the charitable sector!

    I would be suspicious about participating in any such exercise at the behest of any official or MP out to make a name for himself which may well have for it's purpose an evaluation of the extent to which the charitable sector may be stretched further to provide resources which are properly the preserve of a government who will find any excuse not to provide funding if the charitable sector can be made to take up the slack on it's behalf!

    I dislike KY jelly and the Machievellian characters who like to use it!

    Be very suspicious about those who ask seemingly well-intentioned and innocent sounding questions on forums such as this!
  10. 'Disabilities' generally refers to mental and physical handicap/disability, rather than mental illness/psychological disorder. A common mental disability is Down's Syndrome, although there are plenty more.

    In terms of statutory provision i.e. NHS and Social Services, as well as charities, there has traditionally tended to be a division between services dealing with mental health and those dealing with mental handicap/learning disabilities.

    It rather depends on the charity in question and what its core work is. It's probably not a hugely good idea for a charity that (for instance) has traditionally dealt with disabled children to move into treating ex-service personnel. What would be better would be to help Combat Stress to expand and to develop NHS mental health services.
  11. PTSD is IMHO a personal thing, different symptoms for different people, just remember it is not just a forces thing it applies to anyone who has "issues" dealing with a stressful situation they have gone through and is also difficult to diagnose accurately.

    we all react differently to different things. so getting hard facts is nigh on impossible in my opinion.
  12. Iolis, I agree; though where you use the term "KY" I would use "snake oil".
  13. Many thanks to everyone for their useful contributions and I will certainly be calling the solicitors and Combat Stress for useful statistics and facts that might move this matter forward.

    Iolis – I can honestly appreciate where your comments are coming from, I can appreciate the scepticism here – but I can assure you and indeed everyone who’s been kind enough to respond that the last thing on my mind is seeking to make advances or capital out of this dreadful situation.

    My only and honest intention is to seek where possible to move the provision of counselling and services forward for those who so desperately need them.

    For myself I seek no advancement or elevation within the organisation especially as with me the dye is cast, in a little more than eighteen months I will have permanently departed the UK for Australia, being a duel national I have that luxury and I have already secured employment in Australia.

    I wholeheartedly concur with your sentiments that those who have served their country and find that in the course of their duty they suffer from a PTSD related problem are entitled to the highest standards of care, counselling and rehabilitation available and that this should be state funded.

    But let’s face the reality here, they do not have access to such services of excellence, there is risible capacity available and the state vis-à-vis HMG and MOD clearly don’t give a flying you know what about these people.

    Bad enough to be serving and suffering, but woe betide those medically discharged or who have left the service. So demanding that HMG and MOD ‘step up to the plate’ isn’t going to make an iota of difference to those who need help now is it?

    Have you any idea of just how many critical and essential services are provided today through charitable organisations and what things would be like without their services?

    What do you find so objectionable about a major charity stepping in to provide counselling and services or collaborative partnerships with other organisations to increase capacity and access to assistance?

    We are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history if we choose to ignore the lessons that are there for the learning!

    In Australia, after the Vietnam war, returning veterans discovered that they were ostracised by society and abandoned and ignored by the Government, after a lengthy spell where many veterans self harmed or committed suicide, they decided to form their own self help counselling service – no-one else was going to do it for them so they did it for themselves on a voluntary basis.

    Today in Australia, what became the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service has evolved to become the lead provider of counselling services for all veterans and is federally funded by the Canberra Government.

    We don’t want to wait any longer for these people to receive recognition and funding, too many have self harmed already or have committed suicide so let’s not repeat the mistakes of post Vietnam America and Australia and if we’re able to drive and generate change, we ought to work tirelessly to do so, don’t you agree?
  14. You have it in a nutshell CC. Good post.

    Although I have to say I'm becoming increasingly irrritated at the number of claims for compensation we see in the news, many of which I'm convinced are encouraged by ambulance-chasing lawyers after their slice of the payout.

    I have the condition and I live with it, seeing it as an unfortunate by-product of my career. A career which has gained me a reasonable pension, and which allows me the privilege of not having to work again if I don't want to at the age of 51. Not too bad a trade-off really.

    I don't want to claim against anyone, nor will I ever. All I've ever wanted is to receive recognition that I'm not a weak poof and to get some treatment to make my life (and that of my long-suffering wife) better.