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Working with Combat Stress

The RAF Benevolent Fund is committed to supporting members of the RAF family in need. We provide a lot of services ourselves, and we also fund specialist services through our partner charities. Combat Stress is one of those charities.

We have pledged to give Combat Stress £2.2 million over five years to support their work with Service personnel affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

As part of this pledge we are funding an outreach team in East Anglia run by Steve Petit, an ex-RAF man himself.

We spoke to Steve, and this is what he had to say: "There are four of us, including two community psychiatric nurses. Nearly 80% of our clients have difficulties adjusting to civilian life.

"In the military world, things are more black and white, but the civilian world is all shades of grey. People may use alcohol or drugs to avoid dealing with their anxiety, or they're angry a lot, causing family breakdown.

"About 20% suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For example, one client, with a young son himself, was unable to cope after insurgents sent a seven-year-old boy with a wheelbarrow full of explosives towards his base, which were then detonated.

"Sometimes we admit people to our treatment centre, but mostly we help them at home to challenge mindsets and unpick what triggers flashbacks, anxiety or anger and by teaching ways of coping.

"Two to three months of sharp intervention is often enough. Although all contact with us is confidential, the RAF Benevolent Fund funding us to see clients at home means we can reassure them so they don't feel their jobs might be at risk."

This is just one of the many ways we support the RAF family.

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