Ukrainian war: conflict could trigger “unresolved traumatic experiences” for veterans: where to get support

Help for Heroes provides advice and support to veterans fighting the conflict in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have horrific consequences with the death of many civilians, cities destroyed after constant bombing and millions forced to flee their homes.

Constant coverage of the conflict, such as images of news and social media posts, can also have a negative effect on people’s mental health and could be a trigger for veterans.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to have horrific consequences

Charity Help for Heroes, which supports veterans recovering from physical and psychological injuries related to their service, said it is currently seeing “high distress” and a number of references associated with the Ukrainian conflict.

NationalWorld spoke with Colin Preece, a psychological wellness manager for Help for Heroes, to find out how war may be affecting veterans and where people can ask for help.

How is the war in Ukraine affecting some veterans?

Preece said the conflict in Ukraine is distressing for many people, not just veterans, with moving footage of television news showing “the devastation of civilian civilian lives from the conflict.”

He added that social media allows “a very personal report of the conflict that can provoke a feeling of empathy with the victims and an improved emotional reaction.”

However, veterans are in a position where all of the above applies, but they also see the situation “through the lens of their personal experiences during the military,” Preece said.

He said: “Unresolved traumatic experiences can be triggered by negatively affecting your mental health. They can start thinking about past events as well as current events.”

What can veterans do if they are provoked by the conflict in Ukraine?

The general advice that the charity gives to veterans and others affected by the situation is to limit their exposure to news and reports on social media.

Help for Heroes also encourages veterans to talk to their friends and family about how they feel and to seek professional help, either through their GP or specialist services such as Hidden Wounds at Help for Heroes.

Hidden Wounds is part of Help for Heroes and is comprised of psychologists, counselors, and psychological wellness professionals.

Preece added that personal care is really important and that it is “crucial to invest in your own well-being”, such as taking time to relax, exercise and go for a walk.

He also said that trigger warnings are a useful way to warn the audience, for example on news programs and social media, of nearby content and allow the viewer to “take steps to limit or prevent exposure. “.

You can find more information about Help for Heroes on their website website.

Support is also available from Samaritansto which you can send an email, write or call 116 123.

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