The mission of Combat Stress, one of the many charities supported by Trinity House, is to provide timely, effective clinical treatment and support to veterans who suffer from psychological injuries. It was founded in May 1919, just after the end of the First World War.
The attitude towards mental health at the time was primitive in comparison to today—servicemen and women with mental health problems received little or no sympathy.
At the end of the War there were thousands of men and women returning from the front and from sea suffering from shell-shock. Many were confined in Mental War Hospitals under Martial Law—with the risk of being sent on to asylums without appeal.
The charity was ahead of its time and the founding mothers of Combat Stress (they were mainly women) believed that these veterans could be helped to cope with their condition through a rehabilitation programme.
Work provided financial security and many doctors believed it was an excellent form of therapy, so for many years, Combat Stress ran employment schemes that created real work opportunities for veterans.
A lot has changed since then but Combat Stress still provides free help and support to veterans (over 6,000 are currently registered with the charity), equipping them with the skills to recover from mental health conditions and rebuild their lives.
At the charity’s three treatment centres and from the network of community teams, veterans receive treatment for conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety. Most veterans who engage in the treatment programmes see a reduction in their symptoms and an improved quality of life.