In the UK, the 18th to the 24th of May is Mental Health Awareness week. In these strange times, you may be feeling more isolated, stressed or worried than ever, and it is important to remember that this is understandable, and that it’s okay to not feel okay. It’s more important than ever to keep track of how you’re feeling, prioritise your wellbeing, reach out to those around you, and seek help when needed.
Many of the veteran’s and serving personnel associated with Waterloo Uncovered have struggled with mental health issues, usually stemming from trauma and injury during their service. Supporting these veterans and serving personnel and aiding in recovery is an important part of Waterloo Uncovered’s mission statement, and has been a central goal of the project from the very beginning. Our Veteran & Serving Military Personnel (VSMP) Programme, which is run by an experienced Wellbeing and Support team over a period of twelve months, has seen incredibly positive results over the last five years, and we continue to improve and adapt the programme as Waterloo Uncovered grows.
Several of our veteran participants have felt comfortable enough to share their stories over the years, to encourage others to take the first steps towards recovery. You can view some of our veteran’s stories on our YouTube page here. One particularly relevant story we would like to share this week comes from veteran Ben Mead. In the video below, he describes the struggles he faced, and the steps he was able to take to begin getting the support he needed. His words on the importance of battling the stigma associated with mental health and reaching out for help when needed are important for every one of us, not just those who have served.
If you need to talk to someone, there are resources available. In an emergency, always contact 999 or go to your local A&E department. In a crisis you can also contact:
NHS: Call 111, or call your local GP and ask for an emergency appointment.
Samaritans: Call 116 123, for free, 24/7 support over the phone. Visit www.samaritans.org for more information.
Shout: Text Shout to 85258 for free, 24/7 support via text. Visit www.giveusashout.org/ for more information.
For more resources and support, visit www.mind.org.uk to see what is available and how they can help.