Homelessness? PTSD, Depression, Anxiety
As we all know, it is becoming increasingly alarming at the constant rising caseload for overstretched GPs, referrals to Hospital Consultants and specialised clinics for the above conditions. For civilian, Emergency Services and Veteran patients they may present with all three conditions. So many veterans end up homeless after release from military service.
One finds much banter aired from some quarters and charities concerning assistance afforded military personnel. Even less to our Fire, Police and Ambulance personnel.
Words spouted out to media by charities supposedly offering such assistance is NOT in keeping with actions and calls received at ALL times of the DAY AND NIGHT. Those desperate even very ill persons many displaying suicidal ideation, or thinking of ending their lives.
I do not wish to appear alarmist in expressing after 46 years on the front line aiding fellow professionals and those within our civilian sector. I am frustrated at the inaccurate information even mistruths surfacing from many so called Health professionals and Government Ministers.
As soon as they open their mouths to speak on the subject(s) itemised above they are on a hiding to nothing!. The facts speak for themselves.
The public of this country (UK) if such word ‘United’ is accurate any longer! Seemingly we are far from United?. The Prime Minister and Chancellor of Exchequer will have us believe ‘WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!’ Yet many appear more despondent than ever with little assistance afforded Emotional states and Mental illnesses.
We at the Trauma Centre (UK) are in constant dialogue with many GENUINE agencies trying to alleviate this disturbing problem. Despite many promises given to our civilians not being met, Military lads and girls and EMS…..ALL have met with little or NOTHING.
My clinician colleagues, brothers and sisters in the Priesthood do so much to help survivors and their families. None of us are “GODS.”
When Military personnel are DRAFTED by Government ministers into conflict zones, it is their responsibility to care for emotional, physical and mental illness / injuries that ensue from such actions.
Not then to expect individuals, and charities to bail them out. Thus excusing the Government (Ministry of Defence) of putting their hands in their pockets to fund treatment.
Physical injuries are fairly well catered for at the fantastic Queen Elizabeth Hospital affectionately known as the ‘QEII’ in Birmingham. The best surgical interventions and nursing care and expertise from devoted nursing and hospital staff.
Emotional and mental issues culminating in Psychiatric injury the ‘invisible injury’ as termed is seriously neglected.
All gas and gaiters I’m afraid. It befalls once again in lay mans terms that ‘individuals seeking shelter and accommodation will have to locate such themselves’, a complete waste of time and effort seeking assistance from agencies and many charities set up for these personnel.
If such assistance were sought for financial help it would have a better success rate than for any Psychological care. Physical injuries are visible they can be seen, by using X Rays, CT, MRI and for Psychological injury the fMRI scanners.
It is strange fMRI scanners are scattered around the country yet NOT made available freely to assess if a Psychological injury or moderate brain injury is present! I wonder why? May it be the fear of securing definitive proof? then being made available and the flood gates opened for Government to be sued through court actions?
It is the (Invisible injuries) Emotional scarring which is not visible to confirm a definitive diagnosis in many instances unless a Functional MRI scanner is used.
Quite frankly there have been so many mis-diagnosis made by Psychiatrists and Psychologists simply reliant on Books! Such as the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual or in short APA’s DSM. The version varies of course but PTSD was agreed upon in Version III of 1980.
Returning to Military veterans and those serving personnel trying to secure immediate treatment! They are unlikely to receive that treatment without a long wait for an appointment with a knowledgeable and competent Consultant in PTSD.
To confirm what I state above, seek out a few veterans who are Homeless? Many Veterans end up homeless after being demobbed. Their home is the local pub where many seek alcoholic anaesthesia to rid them of their traumas.
Much banter or to use a military expression ‘verbal diarrhoea’ a condition in which faeces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form. In ‘Political circles’ may it be worthless words, full of empty air expelled from their mouths instead.
Much like some sources and charities concerning assistance rendered to our military personnel. Sadly their statements and words are not in keeping with the actions and many calls received at the Centre. At ALL times of the DAY AND NIGHT. The Trauma Centre (UK) are in constant dialogue with many GENUINE agencies and our colleagues in Church Ministry trying to alleviate this disturbing problem. Despite many promises to these lads and girls by various Government Ministers ALL have met with literally NOTHING.
All gas and gaiters. It befalls once again on individuals to seek that shelter and accommodation themselves. It seems for them a complete and utter waste of time and effort seeking assistance from appropriate agencies and charities set up to aid these personnel. SSAFA and the RBL may help out financially, but not medically nor psychologically. To confirm that stated above, just seek out veterans, ask them yourselves.
Another disgraceful act by successive governments has been the total disregard of our former National Servicemen seeking a medal for their loyal service. The UK Government I am reliably informed commissioned a medal to be struck, such a die was made and medals awarded to Australian, New Zealand and Canadian former National Servicemen.
Our own NSVA (National Service) Veterans were excluded? The Government are still refusing that medal to be awarded to our own brave former National Servicemen. This behaviour is disgraceful a travesty and worse a humiliation and let down. What does this behaviour display to our newest recruits to military service? that they are to be ignored when their active service ends? It does appear so.
Veterans confirm first hand the difficulties they encounter. The care is even worse for civilian members of our society.
Let me make it clear, I certainly do NOT include those where such difficulties have arisen through self inflicted misuse and abuse of alcohol and drugs.
Many veterans loose jobs through no fault of their own, another smack in the face after many years of faithful and loyal service, unable to pay rent, or accommodation costs. Some then enter that vicious circle having to find funds for their food! As the new Government legislation is screwing the ill, disabled and unemployed even tighter until they break under the pressure.
In the last few months since with new Government legislation many individuals describe lack of employment opportunities, no money to pay fares to GET TO interviews, nor outlying employment offices to seek work. If they secured a job, due to inflationary fares on public transport that is another handicap.
Many living in deep rural areas without their own personal transport rely solely on public transport are at a disadvantage. If offered employment where shift duties are required, the transport infrastructure either does not commence until after their shift starts. If on night duty for example shifts end at 6am they may have to wait 2 hours for the first available bus / transport to reach their homes?
We seem worse off these days with public transport than in the early 60s. At least those days we had night trains and buses running until midnight, and early trains and buses.
Fares have become astronomical in many instances taking a portion of peoples salaries somewhere near 30% of their monthly wage?. It is a vicious circle indeed.
Little wonder so many are reporting to GPs with related illnesses of Depression and Anxiety. No matter how many tablets or whatever medication be prescribed IT WILL NEVER alleviate the illnesses, nor symptoms if their monetary situation is NOT addressed.
The financial burden is yet another worry for all, mortgages and rents when many fall behind have lost their careers and employment they will loose homes too.
This is the reality of what is happening and YET once more I do not hear so called Organisations and many Charities speaking up and challenging these hardships and most stupid laws and regulations spouted out everyday like a paper mill exercise by MPs and Government Ministers. All promises and empty words with no action it appears.
Would it not be a good gesture to open up some of these obsolete Military camps as accommodation blocks for many homeless military and civilian individuals. I am sure there are many skilled craftsmen amongst them, who could do so much even in the local communities. I have recently heard of a former very skilled military man and fireman having his benefits removed by a particular date and told he is fit to go to work. It seems that assessment was made by a “MIDWIFE” who submitted the report?. The individual has chronic PTSD and tendencies when under pressure to “explode” not intentionally, but these are symptoms of PTSD that people present with and have difficulties coping with to prevent such explosive actions. Another reason maybe for many ex military now serving prison terms.
Piling all these extra pressures upon sick and vulnerable individuals is NOT HELPING it is INFLAMING an already existing illness. Let us all hope that in 2016 ALL agencies and charities pertaining to assist these patients will indeed get together around a meeting table, thrash out and arrive at a reasonable solution to solve this ever increasing problem and to relieve many of the the disorder, illnesses within our country.
Let us ALL take these matters seriously, maybe then some of the large high paid salaries and bonuses awarded to Executive Bank staff, large corporate managers could be better used alleviating these most miserable and no hope situations for many hurting souls.
Let us start to do SOMETHING united together. To restore a sense of self esteem and worth to all these individuals, that’s all they seek. The rest they can deal with and once again may walk tall and proud in our country. To be treated as equals. No more no less.
Equal to ALL lesser than NONE.
Time will tell!
David Bennett (Director)
Trauma Centre ( UK)