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Vital 24-hour helpline for military veterans suffering with PTSD faces the axe
The Mirror UK
By Nicola Small
DEC 29, 2018
Chris, 48, said: “I had to build up the courage to pick up the phone because it takes a lot to admit you need help.
Northern Ireland veteran Chris Batty, 48, from Sunderland (Image: Mirrorpix)
A life-saving helpline for veterans battling with PTSD may have to axe its 24-hour operation because of a cash crisis.
Combat Stress says its round-the-clock service desperately needs funds.
Last year it handled more than 12,500 calls – up 24 per cent in a year.
But in March the NHS cut £3.2million of Combat Stress’s overall funding – a fifth of its income.
The charity has already reduced its vital residential care programmes.
And now bosses have appealed through the Sunday People for public donations to keep its helpline available at all times.
They chose us because of our Save Our Soldiers campaign, which calls for a radical overhaul of how the Government and military top brass handle post-traumatic stress.
Carol Smith, Combat Stress director of client services, said: “We absolutely do not want to reduce the hours.
“Our helpline is the first port of call for veterans seeking help and it is really important they are able to contact us at any time of the day or night.
“A lot of calls are made at night because often people with mental health conditions find it difficult to sleep. Many have told us that if they hadn’t made that call they wouldn’t be here today.
“We have enough funding to see us through to April because we have been fortunate enough to receive a couple of legacies.
“But after that everything depends on how much money we are able to raise.”
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