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Impact of PTSD
Not all struggles are visible.
12 years of military service left Keith struggling with mental scars.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition where a person can experience physical and psychological symptoms and reactions which cause them to re-live a previous traumatic event.
Keith was discharged from the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1986 after serving in Northern Ireland.
It wasn’t until more than a decade after his discharge that he began to experience PTSD and started offending.
After several short stays in prison, he became dependant on alcohol in 2004, fuelling his mental troubles further.
After reaching out for support from Ingeus UK, they found a way to help Keith succeed.
Support through connection
“I led a normal happy life when I came out of the RAF,” explains Keith. “My station commander found me a job, which I had for 13 years, and I got married.”
“It wasn’t until the PTSD started to take effect that my life changed. I ended up a total alcoholic, and that just fuelled all my anger.”
Receiving different support for his problems over the years, he first had access to the CF03 Activity Hubs at Holme House Prison’s veterans’ wing in 2022, where he felt supported by people who fully understood his background.
The support sessions he and other veterans had while in prison helped Keith feel socially connected again.
“It was very good and much easier, and it got us out of the pad, and it was classed as work” he said.
“We could talk openly with each other, and especially with CF03 staff.”
After his release, Keith had access to practical support through the CFO Activity Hub, including debt advice and independent living.
He was also offered mental health support through group or one-to-one sessions, something which Keith found beneficial.
“Civilians don’t understand what we’ve been through so it’s very hard to open up to them. But the CFO was different.”
“It’s a brilliant service and led by former service men – my adviser Graham was in Northern Ireland too so we could really empathise with each other” Keith said.