Sidmouth serviceman backs Working With PTSD campaign following report

Mark Collins (centre) with his Round Britain team, the former Navy serviceman has spoken of how he h

Mark Collins (centre) with his Round Britain team, the former Navy serviceman has spoken of how he has been helped back into work after being diagnosed with PTSD. Picture: The Poppy Factory - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth veteran has backed the work of a national charity as part of a campaign to help injured, sick and wounded servicemen get back into work.

Mark Collins was medically discharged from the Navy with PTSD and said the condition had an impact on two of his marriages as he struggled to adjust to civilian life.

The 53-year-old shared his experiences following a YouGov poll that four in five people in the South West thought it would be difficult for someone living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to stay in paid work for 12 months or longer.

The poll was commissioned by The Poppy Factory, which works with wounded, injured and sick veterans back into work and commissioned the survey as part of its Working With PTSD campaign.

Mark says the charity has played a huge part to turn his life around, helping him to earn a construction skills qualification.

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He said: “Going back to work has really helped with my PTSD. I am in a better environment and it’s helped me with anxiety. I still get highs and lows as is expected, but I’m a lot happier.”

Through the charity, Mark signed up to complete a sailing challenge to mark 100 years since the end of World War One.

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Mark said: “The sailing trip was fantastic. It got me back together with people from the forces, feeling that camaraderie again. That was my life from when I was 16 and it was all taken away. Being on the ship with the others and being part of the team gave me more confidence.”

Out of the 204 people in the South West that were polled, five per cent said it would not be difficult for someone with PTSD to stay in work for a year in longer, compared to 39 per cent who felt it would be very difficult and 46 per cent who said it would be fairly difficult.

The remaining 10 per cent said they did not know.

Deirdre Mills, chief executive of The Poppy Factory, said: “We know from experience that those who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder can find it very challenging to stay in a job. But with the right support over the long term, they often become the most dedicated, passionate and successful workers.

“By supporting The Poppy Factory’s Working With PTSD campaign, you can help these men and women secure the positive futures they deserve.”

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