Thursday, 10 September 2009

Battle Scarred web site

The Battle Scarred website, which complements the Dispatches programme (which was aired Monday 7th September at 8pm) has now gone live.

The website offers exclusive video clips and stories about the psychological traumas suffered by many soldiers as a result of their time spent in combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan–some of which may take years to develop.

The site covers four topics; mental health, relationships, alcohol and suicide and each has a series of clips from ex soldiers and their families about how each of these has directly affected them. In a series of moving short videos, the clips tell the stories of how families can be left devastated by the suicide of their loved ones, how lives can be wrecked by trying to battle the demons of war with drink or drugs and how marriages and relationships can falter when a returning soldier tries to adjust to life back home.

There are also research articles into the background of each topic and a chance for anyone affected by them to comment on the issues and share their experiences.

There is a section for Help and Support and links to other websites which discuss the impact of combat on the psychological health of the people who serve in our military.

Photographs taken by serving soldiers and video clips taken with their mobile phones also give a sense of what life is like fighting in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and there are a series of portraits of ex-soldiers by the film-maker David Modell of all the people he spoke to in the making of Battle Scarred.

Please visit the site at

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Canadian troops lost to mental health problems

A Canadian Veterans Affairs Department official recently said that over 20% of Canadian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan had subsequently left the armed forces because of PTSD or other psychiatric problems. The National Defence Department has been criticised for not working hard enough to help service personnel with mental health problems.

PTSD and ... Multiple Sclerosis

A recent court ruling has raised new concerns about PTSD by concluding that it may have helped cause multiple sclerosis. It was argued in court that stress can at least spark individual attacks or make symptoms seem more intense, and the judge ruled that PTSD actually prompted or exacerbated a veteran's MS, overturning a review-board decision refusing the man a pension. The veteran said in an interview. "I could have maybe warded off MS had I been given the proper medical treatment when I needed it."

Whatever actually happened with this veteran's Multiple Sclerosis, this case underlines the need to get better organised with PTSD care, offering rapid treatment as soon as servicemen start to feel disturbed by their experiences. Now we know how to prevent these cases growing into entrenched disabilities it makes sense to use that knowledge.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Walking Wounded - Thanks to BBC Scotland

Resolution would like to thank BBC Scotland for Walking Wounded, the film about veterans struggling with life after the Army. The film portrayed with terrible clarity the Kafkaesque nightmare faced by veterans as they attempt to find some peace in their lives while negotiating a pensions, benefits, housing and employment system that is almost guaranteed to wind up their anger and frustration. Sensitively produced by Stephen Bennett of Clarity Productions, the film portrayed some of the shocking truths about being a traumatised veteran without straying into voyeurism or sensationalism. Scottish national daily paper The Scotsman called Walking Wounded "a heartbreaking documentary... a powerful depiction of despair and neglect".

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Walking Wounded - Film from BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland's film 'Walking Wounded' is an emotionally charged and uncompromising look at the experiences of young ex-soldiers as they adapt to civilian life. It follows three veterans as they attempt to negotiate the difficulties of adapting to civilian life while struggling with the after-effects of their time in the Army. One of the three is Chris from Nottinghamshire, who suffers from acute post-traumatic stress disorder following his tours of Bosnia and Iraq during the first Gulf War. A spiral of anger, drink and depression ended in the loss of his family, business and home, leaving him sleeping rough in London. Moving to Edinburgh with the promise of a new life, Chris enters a maze of benefit systems and Veterans charities. Resolution is one of the organisations that offers him help, and the programme follows his progress. Walking Wounded shows what to expect if you are treated by Resolution, and you can see it on the BBC iPlayer here: