Six months into his first posting with the 3rd Royal Green Jackets Steve was sent to the Falkland Islands. He wasn’t just feeding hungry troops but stretcher bearing and helping the medics. “My time in the Falklands was horrible. After one ship was blown up I assisted moving the injured to the first aid post.”
But soon it was Steve who required the stretcher.
“There was an air-fight and a jet was hit, releasing their payload close to me. The last thing I remember was flying through the air.”
Steve woke up on a hospital ship after sustaining severe stomach injuries and recalls it was a scary time. “I had three operations to remove half my stomach. I didn’t realise until years later how badly I was affected by what I experienced and witnessed.”
During his 14 year career Steve also served in Northern Ireland and Germany with his last posting in London, cooking for the Royal Engineers, providing his happiest memories. Within 18 months Steve was promoted to Lance Corporal then Corporal.
Upon leaving the Army in 1993 aged 31, Steve’s biggest challenges in life were yet to come. He returned to Scotland and found getting accommodation and jobs extremely difficult, spending years in temporary accommodation. Steve was depressed and was experiencing bad nightmares. He was scared to go outside and was unable to use public transport or go to a shop. He knew something was wrong.
PTSD was first mentioned by a man from SAFA who visited Steve and spotted the signs. Eight years of treatment with Combat Stress followed as well as help from local mental health services. It was his GP who suggested the Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine programme with Steve receiving the support of a mentor, who told him about the new Activity Centre soon to open.
In 2018 Steve attended the ERMAC Open Day. “At first I was shy, I didn’t talk to anyone, but in time everyone there helped bring me out of my shell. ERMAC has enabled me to do things I could never have done before. I went to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and the highlight for me was going on holiday to Canada on my own. Attending the centre has given me confidence.”
Like many people who live with PTSD Steve finds it difficult using public transport so Erskine’s transport service is invaluable to him. Steve is only able to attend the activity centre because of the generosity of donors like you who make it possible to provide transport.
When it’s safe to do so, Veterans like Steve look forward to travelling back to the activity centre. In the meantime Veterans continue to receive support through video calls and classes.
Your donation today will give Veterans hope for the future. A chance to look forward to times when they can get out and about again.