What are you looking for?

27 June 2024 | Comment | Article by Simon Ellis

PTSD Awareness Day | Breaking the Silence and Seeking Support

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day falls on 27 June 2024. It focuses on raising awareness of the condition, and assuring millions of sufferers that they can ask for help without feeling ashamed.

Initially termed “shell shock” during World War I, PTSD describes soldiers’ severe psychological trauma from combat. By the Vietnam War it was officially recognised as PTSD, encompassing broader traumatic experiences. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance, severely impacting daily life and relationships. Early recognition and intervention are crucial, as untreated PTSD can lead to depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. Prompt treatment with therapy and medication can significantly improve outcomes, enabling individuals to manage symptoms and regain stability. Recognising PTSD’s signs early is vital for fostering recovery and improving quality of life.

Some individuals may realise they are struggling to cope after trauma but are unaware they have PTSD or complex-PTSD. They might think their symptoms are simply part of their life, even if they are debilitating.

A little over a decade ago, PTSD and Complex PTSD were considered incurable, but recent research shows successful treatment is possible, even years after the trauma..

Additionally, people with PTSD are often misdiagnosed because they can develop other disorders such as depression, substance abuse, and cognitive issues.

Many individuals are unable to articulate their feelings or reach out for help.

Fortunately, PTSD has been gaining much-needed attention in recent years, particularly among military personnel. At Hugh James, our military department works with many clients who struggle with this condition, and we understand the profound impact it can have on individuals and their families.

PTSD can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event; this may be immediate but in many cases, it can appear some time – even years – afterwards. It isn’t limited to soldiers returning from combat; it can affect anyone who has been through a distressing experience. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. These symptoms can be debilitating, affecting daily life, and making it difficult to function.

The prevalence of PTSD in the military

Due to the nature of their work military personnel can be vulnerable to PTSD. Exposure to life-threatening situations, the loss of comrades, and the stress of combat can all contribute to the development of this disorder. The Ministry of Defence claims that around one in every thousand (0.1%) veterans experience PTSD, but research at King’s College London suggests the real figure is closer to 7.4% (one in every fourteen veterans) and the actual number could be higher due to underreporting and the stigma associated with mental health issues.

The stigma

For years, there has been a stigma surrounding mental health in the military. However, our Military Department is proud to be part of an effort shattering this perception. Increasingly, military leaders and veterans are speaking out about their own experiences, and Hugh James works with veterans who suffer from a myriad of mental illnesses including PTSD. We want to help normalise the conversation around all aspects of mental health and we’re proudly a gold tier signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, ensuring that our veterans are treated fairly and given the expert legal advice they’re entitled to. By working with and for veterans, we look to make a significant positive impact on their lives and get them the help they deserve.

Seeking help and support

Acknowledging PTSD is often the first step towards recovery. Many resources are available to those struggling with this condition, including therapy, medication, and support groups. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) are common treatments. For veterans living in England, there is Op Courage, which is designed to help veterans and their families with a range of support and treatment. Veterans NHS performs similar functions in Wales.

At Hugh James our team is dedicated to helping military personnel navigate the complexities of their cases. We understand that dealing with PTSD is perhaps the hardest battle some of our veterans have endured, and we are here to support our clients every step of the way.

Encouraging discussion

It’s essential to continue the conversation about PTSD, both to support those affected and to educate the broader community. By talking openly about mental health, we can help dismantle the stigma and create a more supportive environment for everyone.

At Hugh James, we are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive support to our clients. Whether you are a veteran, a family member, or someone who cares about mental health, let’s work together to break the silence and support those who have given so much for our country.

Helpful links


 Op Courage and the NHS

 Access to CBT, Counselling and Other Therapies

 Urgent Help for Mental Health

Author bio

Simon Ellis


Simon Ellis is a Partner with Hugh James and has worked with the firm for more than 25 years, having trained and qualified here. Simon heads up the Military Department, advising and assisting current and former military personnel with various health conditions and injuries. He specialises in claims such as hearing loss, non-freezing cold injuries, compartment syndrome and military injury cases. He is often asked to advise on more unusual claims in the military context.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us