16 Jan Essex veteran backs Hidden Wounds initiative
With Blue Monday having just passed and Help for Heroes, (H4H), having just released new research about mental health, (below), Veteran Ryan Lewis from Colchester is hoping that by sharing his experiences he will encourage others to come forward.
The former Sergeant served for just under 15 years in the 7th Parachute Royal Horse Artillery; touring Iraq and Afghanistan. The 33 year old, who was born in Germany but grew up in Aldershot, left in 2014 after being admitted to a psychiatric hospital earlier in 2012.
“In 2004 my regiment moved and I found myself in Colchester. I felt incredibly isolated as I was away from my family and had a young family of my own. Trying to balance my job in the army and my life at home was becoming too much. I also started having panic attacks in 2009 and wasn’t sleeping because of nightmares from what I’d seen in Iraq. In 2012 I tried to commit suicide but thankfully stopped myself. It was then that I got admitted to a psychiatric hospital. After being discharged I went back to work but people just didn’t know to handle me. It was when I left the army that I felt lost more than ever”.
Ryan decided to get in contact with Help for Heroes and visited the Recovery Centre near his home in Colchester. After signing up as a Band of Brother he now attends the centre regularly.
Family members who are concerned about the mental health of a Veteran close to them can contact Hidden Wounds using the following details:
Tel: 0808 2020 144 (free from UK landlines)