His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of Combat Stress, launched our At Ease Appeal on Monday, 13 May, at a reception at St James’s Palace, attended by veterans who have been treated by us.
The At East Appeal aims to meet the increasing demand from younger veterans for our specialist services.
Launched in Combat Stress’ centenary year, The At Ease Appeal needs to raise £10 million over three years. With more demand for our services than we can meet, we are more reliant than ever on charitable donations.
In the last decade new referrals to Combat Stress have doubled to 2,000 a year, largely due to a significant number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans coming forward for help. Research from King’s College London (October 2018) has revealed that the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is now nearly twice as high among veterans than the general public. For those who served on the frontline in Iraq or Afghanistan, almost one in five are predicted to develop PTSD.
No other organisation provides these services. The money raised through the Appeal will enable us to continue supporting those who turn to the charity in their darkest hour by providing crucial services such as its world-leading PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme, short-stay clinical treatment and a free 24-hour Helpline and text number.
Alongside this, there is an urgency to meet the needs of younger veterans who often have work or family commitments and struggle to balance the pressure of their lives with seeking mental health treatment.
We will use funds raised through the Appeal to increase access to treatment by launching its world-class PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme into the community to allow more veterans to have flexible access to treatment. Combat Stress will also introduce innovative video call therapy and expand its successful Peer Support Service, which helps veterans feel supported and safe so they’re able to engage with the charity and benefit fully from the range of treatment programmes.
You can read HRH Prince Charles' speech on the day here.
Davina, a 43-year-old Army veteran who was treated by Combat Stress for PTSD, said:
“Whilst I wanted to get help, I really didn’t want anyone at work to know what I was going through. I wanted life to carry on as normal. Combat Stress took my concerns on board and offered me a therapy session one day a week on my day off. This was the perfect solution for me.
“It’s the hardest thing to say you need help but at Combat Stress, they understand. They know what you don’t. Thanks to Combat Stress, I’m so much more relaxed today.”
General Sir Peter Wall, President of Combat Stress and Chairman of The At Ease Appeal Advisory Board, said:
“Please help us take this urgent step forward in veteran mental health treatment. I hope you will join us in our mission to change the lives of those veterans – and their families – who so badly need our help and give your support to The At Ease Appeal. With your support, together we can transform the lives of those who have paid a high price for serving their nation.”