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Combat Stress launches mental health project with National Trust

Combat Stress launches mental health project with National Trust

National Trust property Overbeck’s in Salcombe, Devon, has unveiled a new exhibition and garden trail in partnership with Combat Stress.

A former convalescence home during the First World War, Overbeck’s is working with us throughout 2019 to explore how the experiences of First World War soldiers compare to the lives of modern-day servicemen and women.

Royal Navy and Army veterans from Cornwall and Devon, who are being treated by us, have helped to design the exhibition and garden trail. They’re also participating in photography and writing workshops to replicate some of the therapeutic activities enjoyed by convalescing soldiers at Overbeck’s during the First World War.

During the war, the seaside house in Salcombe became a British Red Cross hospital for soldiers recovering from physical and psychological injuries caused by their experiences in the trenches.

They enjoyed activities such as painting and gardening before returning to the front line. In the exhibition, visitors can view films, photographs, documents and autograph books that reveal a fascinating insight into the soldiers’ time at the hospital.

The partnership between the two charities has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver a programme of activities that will connect visitors with heritage to see how the past can influence life today.

Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said:

“In the 100 years since the charity was founded, treatment for PTSD – what we used to call shell shock – has changed enormously. But the mental health problems that former servicemen and women can face are as relevant as ever. In the last decade, the number of new referrals to our charity has almost doubled, as many returning from war struggle to leave the battlefield behind.

“We’re delighted to be joining the National Trust on this exciting project that will demonstrate to visitors how the past has helped to shape the treatment and support given to veterans today.”

For more information about the project visit