What are you looking for?

13 October 2020 | Comment | Article by Simon Ellis

World Mental Health Day: One day, but an everyday struggle for servicemen and women with PTSD

Initiatives like last week’s World Mental Health Day encourage us all to focus on our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. They’re useful prods to remind us of an important, and universal, topic that affects us all.

It’s one day in the awareness calendar. But my work brings me in to contact with a group of people who face an everyday mental health challenge.

As Head of the Military team at Hugh James, I work closely with veterans and active military personnel. I see many cases of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country dealing with scars which cannot be seen.

Given the nature of the job, it’s not surprising that witnessing the horrors of conflict can leave its mark. But while it’s normal for your mind and body to be in shock after such events, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is different. The normal stress response becomes PTSD when the nervous system gets “stuck.”

I’ve written in detail about PTSD and the armed forces before – the signs, the rise in cases and the available support. What’s really worrying is that the environment we’re all living in right now, through COVID-19, is making things even tougher for our service men and women living with PTSD – especially those who haven’t had the support and assistance they need and deserve.

Many veterans struggle to return to civilian life at the best of times. But it’s particularly difficult for those with PTSD. They find it hard to integrate – being in public areas, crowded spaces, looking for work. Now, dealing with the loneliness and isolation of COVID-19 restrictions and the economic impact on jobs and health worries will be adding to an already intolerable burden.

Civilian life can be a struggle and such a contrast to the life lived when in active service. Often, military victims of PTSD may not be aware of the help that’s out there – and the redress available to them if they were failed by a system that should have supported them.

Not all veterans suffer with PTSD. However, the Government has a legal and moral duty to look after those that do and ensure they are identified and given the support they need. It’s the least veterans should expect in return for the service they give to our country.

There is expert help and advice out there to ensure that those with PTSD don’t have to suffer alone.

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