Call for support in dealing with PTSD
A retired college lecturer with a passion for helping ex-army and emergency services personnel suffering from PTSD is looking to set up recovery centres around the country including in Rutland.
The centres will be specifically aimed at helping the personnel and their families.
Michael Plummer, who lives in Poole, Dorset, said thousands of ex-armed forces and emergency services personnel had been diagnosed with mental health conditions including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression.
He said Rutland, which had a large population of serving and former military members, would be an ideal location for such a centre.
“This trauma can cause flashbacks, nightmares, anger and depression - often leading to violence, alcohol and substance abuse, job loss, family breakdown and suicide,” he said.
“The trouble is that PTSD is on the rise and this project will hopefully go some way in helping to alleviate this problem.”
Michael has set up a government petition titled ‘Fund PTSD recovery centres for ex-armed forces and emergency services personnel’ and is looking for support for his initiative, which he said was still very much in the early stages of planning.
“While I was lecturing at a college I had a student who was ex-army and had served time in Afghanistan,” he said.
“He had gone through a very unpleasant experience in Helmand Province and suffered from PTSD on his return.
“I was very passionate about looking after my students and almost lost my job because I had tried to help him following several incidents in which he got into fights and alcohol was involved.
“I was disgusted with the way the college had treated him and wanted to make a difference. Although there are charities that help, there don’t seem to be ones that help the families too.”
Michael, who is in the process of setting up his own charity, said he envisioned that each PTSD centre would be run as a separate charity, with its own board of locally based trustees.
“Their aim will be to create a happy and relaxed caring family-like community to assist the attendees - known as volunteers - to move forward in all aspects of their lives, whilst feeling safe, valued, cared for and respected.
“The charity realises that mental health problems not only affect the individual but also their immediate family.
“Therefore, the service will also, where possible, work with the family to help in the volunteer’s full recovery.”
Michael said the centres will offer horticultural and other therapeutic treatments specifically aimed at helping to rehabilitate the ‘volunteers’ and help them come to terms with their illness and move on.
“In other words ‘to close the chapter and turn the page’,” he said.
“We hope to arrange a meeting with members of the government and opposition parties, to ensure cross party support and £6m to help fund the project. We plan to launch the project by holding a media event that will culminate at the Houses of Parliament later in October.”
Anyone wanting to support the cause can do so by signing a petition at petition.parliament.UK and once on the web site type ‘PTSD front line’ in the search bar.