A LEADING provider of mental health services for armed forces veterans in Wales is encouraging those who may be "suffering in silence" to reach out for support.

Their call has been backed by Tom Adamson, from Anglesey, who received help from Veterans’ NHS Wales five years ago.

The organisation says that despite supporting an ever increasing number of former armed forces personnel, there remains a significant number of veterans with service related mental health difficulties.

They are now calling on veterans who are struggling with their mental health, as a result of their experiences in service, or difficulties adjusting to civilian life, to contact them so they can start to receive the support they need.

“There is a stigma around seeking mental health support and people can be struggling for quite a few years before they do come forward and seek support,” said Veterans NHS Wales psychological therapist, Karen Hawking.

“We want to ensure that every veteran in Wales knows that they are not alone, and we can provide the support they need to help them deal with their problems and get on with their lives.”

Fifty-nine-year old Tom Adamson developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Northern Ireland and spent four decades battling flashbacks, sleep problems and anger issues before psychological therapy provided by Veterans’ NHS Wales helped him.

“The hard thing for a veteran is accepting that you have a problem, and there is a culture in the armed forces that looking for support is a weakness,” he said.

“I can honestly say that therapy has done me the world of good and the people around me tell me how much I’ve changed."

After joining the Army at the age of 16, in 1974, Mr Adamson served with the King’s Regiment in Northern Ireland as an Infantry Soldier and Corporal before leaving in 1981.

He now combines running the Anglesey Brewing Company with his voluntary work as a director with veterans support group UK Veterans – One Voice.

As he approaches his 60th birthday he says he feels a "heavy sense of guilt" at reaching the milestone while some of his late armed forces colleagues haven’t.

He said: “The harsh reality is that PTSD and feelings of guilt will never go away completely. But Veterans’ NHS Wales have been a godsend in helping me to understand my guilt and helping me to deal with it.

“I’d encourage any veteran struggling with their mental health to contact Veterans’ NHS Wales, as getting therapy really can help to make life a hell of a lot easier.”

Veterans can self-refer to the service via the website at www.veteranswales.co.uk or be referred via their GP.

If you need help contact the 24-hour confidential community advice and listening line for Wales on 0800 123737 or text: “HELP” to 81066. For more information please visit www.callhelpline.org.uk.