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73 Percent Rise In Calls To Veteran Helpline

Travel restrictions in Wales during lockdown led to Minds at War turning to social media to offer support.

The charity has seen a huge increase in the number of armed forces personnel, past and present, seeking help during the pandemic.

Minds at War operates a 24/7 helpline across the UK. Its volunteers often find themselves driving across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to help those in crisis.

The organisation found it particularly difficult to operate in Wales during lockdown due to the five mile travel restrictions which stayed in place until earlier this month.

Norman Mcguigan says social media has been a lifeline for the organisation he told us: " Our volunteers couldn't travel so a lot of communciation was done by telephone, Skype, FaceTime and Messenger. Without that type of communication who knows where our guys would have been. So lockdown had massive implications for us in Wales, but I am pleased to say that has come to an end with the easing of lockdown measures."

LISTEN to interview here:

 

Some veterans are unable to look after themselves - struggling to keep their homes tidy and maintain order. Some are living in dire conditions. Norman has shared with us some of the images from a recent visit to a man they are supporting. He is now in alternative accommodation and getting the help he needs.

Two years ago we met Jamie Jones from Conwy. He was the youngest soldier to go to Afghanistan - going on three tours in the country as a driver, medic, combat tracker and a member of a medical evacuation team during his service. Jamie was left severely traumatised by what he saw there and struggles with PTSD.

Jamie is not not surprised by the increase in calls to Minds at War and told us: "The pandemic has had an impact on everyone's routine, schedules have changed and we have had to put in place protective measures to protect all. I think I have coped quite well during lockdown having support not only off Minds at War but my family too. Every day I get a phone call or text message - my parents are in touch with Norman daily. So really we are getting full support off everyone." He also has this message for anyone struggling right now: " There is support out there,  Minds at War are there 24/7 - so please give them a call. Norman will talk to you, talk to family members - they've got a full network of volunteers that can help you."

LISTEN to interview here:

If you need help or know someone who would benefit from a chat with Norman and his team call Minds at War on 0800 0209716

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