DDN_April_2024 DDN April 2024 | Page 14

With many armed forces veterans suffering from PTSD and using substances to self-medicate it ’ s vital to find the right approach to help them rebuild their lives , says Patrick Rea



K veterans who served in military operations are likely to report a significantly higher prevalence of common mental disorders than non-veterans ( 23 per cent versus 16 per cent ), as well as alcohol misuse ( 11 per cent versus 6 per cent ), according to a 2020 King ’ s Centre for Military Health Research study Mental health disorders and alcohol misuse among UK military veterans and the general population .
In 2009 the charity PTSD Resolution was created to support the mental health of forces veterans , reservists and their families across the UK . It offers a ‘ clear , compassionate pathway to resolving trauma and addiction , to restore mental wellbeing and stability ’, according to retired colonel Tony Gauvain , cofounder and chair of the charity . PTSD Resolution delivers therapy free of charge , offering prompt , local access through its network of 200 therapists
nationwide . With more than 4,000 referrals to date , the charity ’ s approach can resolve military trauma and other issues within an average of seven sessions , with the client and therapist both agreeing that no further treatment is required .
HOLISTIC APPROACH Since 2009 , PTSD Resolution has recorded and analysed the results of every therapy session and client programme and also conducted independent studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of its pathway . It has also gained accreditation from the Royal College of Psychiatrists ’ quality network for veterans mental health services .
‘ PTSD Resolution supports all veterans contending with a range of mental health issues , including those who have an addiction ,’ says Gauvain . ‘ We only require that the client is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the therapy session . This contrasts with many other service providers who insist that veterans must first resolve their addiction before starting therapy for mental health problems . But the addiction is probably a symptom of the underlying trauma or other mental health issue , so we have a holistic approach to therapy and recovery and will help all veterans , whatever their issues .’
The charity ’ s policy of inclusion extends to the provision of help to veterans in prison , providing a lifeline to members of the exforces community frequently left behind . This inclusivity extends to families , acknowledging the ripple effect of trauma and offering much-needed support to partners and children affected by living with a traumatised person .
HUMAN GIVENS At the heart of PTSD Resolution ’ s approach to addiction lies human givens ( HG ) therapy , a method that offers a refreshing lens through which to view and address the complexities of addiction , says Malcolm Hanson , director of therapy at the charity and a veteran himself . ‘ HG therapy stems from a fundamental understanding that human beings have innate needs and resources , collectively referred to as the human givens ,’ he states . ‘ When these needs are unmet , or when resources are misused , individuals may spiral into addiction as a misguided attempt to fulfil these voids .’
‘ The charity operates within a lean model , channelling donations directly into therapy and essential research , avoiding the need for salaried staff , premises or other physical assets ... This operational efficiency ensures that funds are maximised for the benefit of those in need .’ Retired colonel Tony Gauvain , co-founder and chair at PTSD Resolution .
Vivien Kent / Alamy