OUR STORY

When leaving HM armed forces, I found life hard, I never realised how difficult it was going to be to settle back into civilian life.

Myself and my family struggled with what should have been simple, from social housing to schooling and not to mention simple bills that I never had to worry about in the military.  With no guidance and having no idea who to turn to for help and support we had no idea which way to turn; it's fair to say we were struggling.  I tried all angles regarding housing and schools for my kids, but we had no luck, with the housing we were forced to private rent which was another unpleasant experience.

After the initial problems of settling back into civilian life a few years passed then I faced one of the biggest battles of my life!  A while had passed but I had known for a while that something was not right within myself and it wasn't until I suffered massive panic attacks that I made a promise to my family to get help.  After four visits to the doctors she realised that I was a veteran and then she told me something that really, I knew but never wanted admit that I had PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder

The following months were difficult, and I never realised what I would have to go through to get help and more importantly how long I would have to wait to get help, eventually I got the help.  I went through a counselling programme which really helped me but shortly after I received more bad news that one of my good friends who I had served with had died, he died alone and was found some days later. Weeks later I travelled to his home and had the honour of carrying his coffin.  Shortly after I started to relapse with my PTSD, after Christmas I went back to my doctor to ask for help once again.

When I went for help I found that the procedure had changed as things within the NHS had changed, waiting times had increased and the primary health care funding had been reduced within my local area, after 6 weeks I received a letter from my local doctor telling me to speak to a charity to get help  I was disgusted!  I knew I had to do something.

I started to make a bit of a noise on social media and started to write some letters to local authorities, I was invited to have a chat with my local MP's office and after this one thing became apparent that there was distinct lack of support in our local area for Veterans, there was no support for military personnel leaving the forces, no support for veterans families and no support for veterans suffering from mental health problems this is not to mention to homeless veteran crisis to that end East Durham Veterans was created.

Andrew Cammiss

East Durham Veterans Founder